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4 Questions Answered About Hosting Open Houses During the Pandemic

Some areas in the United States are slowly opening up businesses to bring the economy back. The real estate market is no exception to these reopening industries. But, there are still doubts about reopening especially how to maintain social distancing measures.

Since hosting an open house is the easiest and common way to seal a deal, here are answers to common questions that both buying and selling parties have.

Question 1: May I ask individuals whether they are sick or have recently traveled before touring the home?

Answer: Yes, absolutely! Whether you’re the home seller or the realtor, you have the right to know whether you’re putting yourself at risk of getting infected by the COVID-19.

Question 2: What safety measures should be made if an open house is held?

Answer: As a realtor or home seller, limit the people of a number less than 10 to enter the home for the duration of the tour. It would be best that one person or two should enter the property for every touring party. When inside, each person or touring party should maintain distance from you and one another for at least 6 feet apart.

At the entrance of the house make sure every touring person or party who enters the house washes their hands with soap, water, or any alcohol-based sanitizer properly. Request them to remove their shoes and leave them outside the door then provide indoor slippers.

The second option is to provide them with disposable footwear covers so they won’t need to take their shoes off. Lastly, you can opt to provide a disinfecting footbath.

Question 3: What if a prospective homebuyer insists on continuing to hold an open house?

Answer: As a realtor or homeowner, you have the right to decline the holding of an open house. However, you should also consider making it your responsibility to explain your safety concerns to prospective home buyers.

Include in your discussion the current government laws and mandates. If both parties are willing to push the hosting of the open house forward, it is important to have a  discussion with the homebuyer and home seller first.

All parties should discuss and agree upon the necessary steps for a COVID-19-free open house tour.

Question 4: What if the selling party doesn’t want to hold an open house?

Answer: As a homebuyer, you have no choice because the home seller and their agent have all the rights to decline especially due to the pandemic. However, you have the right to negotiate, request, and advise several strategies to use so you can canvass the house properly.

First, you can request the realtor or home seller to go on a video tour with you. A video tour is where you engage in a video call with the selling party while they tour you around the house via Skype or FaceTime.

Second, you can advise the selling party to create a virtual tour for the house. A virtual tour is where the selling party sets up 360° cameras around the house. In the virtual tour, you can move around the house from a phone or computer as if you’re there. You can also have a clearer view of the interior that way.

Third, you can negotiate with the home seller to send a trusted agent of your own to tour the house. The best thing about this strategy is you have a professional realtor of your own who can negotiate for a better price without risking yourself. Just be prepared to pay the commission of the agent.

Before hosting an open house, both the home seller and homebuyer parties must be informed of local real estate regulations. Particularly consult the local or state government regarding pandemic recommendations and guidelines for outdoor activities.