BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Pennsylvania's stay-at-home order is approaching the two-month mark for people in some parts of the commonwealth.
The Lehigh Valley is now in a zone where the order has been extended until June 4. The local real estate industry is hoping Governor Tom Wolf will reconsider his stance on deeming their industry non-essential.
Since the order, local real estate agents say they have been unable to conduct showings of homes. While some people have purchased homes site unseen, it's certainly not ideal for many home buyers.
Kathy Gregory, a real estate agent in Bethlehem, is part of a lawsuit that aims to convince the administration to open up the real estate market. Gregory said she has clients that have sold their homes, but were unable to find a home to purchase before the order was executed. That has essentially left them homeless.
For JD and Laurie Wall, the closure caused endless headaches as they relocated from Nevada to the Lehigh Valley for a new job.
JD was able to visit a home in Bethlehem prior to the order, but Laurie was not. She didn't get a chance to view the property they eventually purchased until the day before closing in their final walk through.
"Imagine buying a house on Amazon, that's what it felt like," JD said. "Not to mention, you can't return it."
The shutdown also affected the appraisal and home inspection.
"They wouldn't let appraisers in, they wouldn't let inspectors in. Nothing," JD said. "It slowed the process down tremendously."
For two months, the couple, their three young children, and two large service dogs found shelter at at an extended-stay facility.
The room was only 200 square feet and did not have a kitchen. The Walls said they spent nearly $3,000 ordering takeout-money they did not budget to spend.
Their agent, Carol Landis-Pierce, said not being able to show homes has negatively impacted the industry.
"People are calling daily, 'can I see this house' and I'm saying 'no, we're not allowed to do showings,'" she said.
It's different in other states.
Sam Royer is a mortgage banker in Florida where real estate is still considered essential.
"If they're going to show a house, they're masking up, making sure they distance, we've heard of no deaths happening due to real estate transactions," Royer said.
"Real estate is essential," said Senator Lisa Boscola, who represents Lehigh and Northampton counties.
Boscola is behind a bill that would reopen real estate and implement strict guidelines to keep people safe. She said all of Pennsylvania's neighboring states consider real estate essential.
"Look, these are professionals, they're not children. They know how to distance themselves, and professionally do a real estate transaction. It's time," Boscola said.
Her bill has bipartisan support and is expected to be voted on next week.