We are living in an unprecedented time. To say it can be difficult to know what steps to take right now when it comes to holding open houses during COVID-19 is an understatement.
It’s no secret, open houses can make all the difference when it comes to closing a sale, so it is understandable that you and your clients are still inclined to want to have them. The question of this era, is it still safe to have them? This question is plaguing agents across the country. So we have gathered some of the best guidelines we’ve encountered for hosting open houses during COVID-19.
The guidelines listed below are based on recommendations from the National Association of Realtors.
Should You Still Offer to Hold In-Person Open Houses During Covid-19?
To make the decision if you should even hold an open house in the first place there are a few things you need to consider:
- State, local, and CDC regulations regarding gatherings or social contact.
- Your clients’ comfort level with having people in their home.
- Your comfort level with the potential health risks of coming in contact with strangers.
Real estate services have been deemed essential so you are still able to host open houses as you see fit, but it is critical that all recommended guidelines are followed. Keep in mind that you are never required to host an open house if you are concerned about being put at risk. Even if your client insists on it, you should not feel pressured to engage in an in-person social event at this time. Your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of your clients, should always be the main priority.
Holding an In-Person Open House During Covid-19:
You will need to prepare for some extra precautions when hosting an open house during COVID-19.
- Confirm any specific requirements for hosting open houses in your state, and city.
- Require appointments for showings in order to limit the amount of people in the home at one time.
- Ask for pre-qualification letters to limit showings to only seriously interested parties.
- Require the seller and buyer to disclose if they have any COVID-19 symptoms, have come in contact with a confirmed case, or have a pending COVID-19 test.
- Discourage non-essential parties from attending the showing.
- Turn on all lights, open all doors, drapings, etc. so guests will not have to touch anything. (It is even appropriate to ask your sellers to do this before they leave the property prior to the open house or showing to limit what you need to touch as well.)
- Potential buyers will also appreciate you offering masks, booties, and mini-hand sanitizers at the open house. (You can even look into promotional branded hand sanitizers with your information on them)
Follow CDC Guidelines During Event
Everyone at the showing will need to be extra careful to ensure no one is exposed to COVID-19. During the showing, these guidelines should be followed closely:
- Maintain a 6 ft. distance between all participants.
- Require masks to be worn at all times.
- Require everyone to use hand sanitizer when they enter the house.
- Do not share phones, pens, or tablets.
- Do not offer food.
- Ask the buyers to not use the bathroom of the home.
- Instruct the buyers to not touch any surfaces in the home.
- Hold extended conversations outside on a porch or patio, weather permitting.
Prioritize Sanitizing After the Showing
After the showing has ended it is important to immediately sanitize what you can. Even if you just have a private showing with one person it is still necessary to sanitize the home to ensure your client’s safety. Focus on these tasks when sanitizing after a showing:
- Wipe down any surfaces a buyer touched, or might have touched.
- Use a sanitizing spray like Lysol to cover larger areas.
- Sanitize the key and lock box.
- Speak with the buyers about the property outside after the showing. Only spend the time absolutely necessary in the home.
- Use hand sanitizer before you get in your car to leave the property.
Alternatives to In-Person Showings
If taking the risk of an in-person showing is not appealing to you, you certainly have other options. The available technology to real estate agents right now is outstanding. There are many platforms that allow you to give an exceptional open house online, and they should definitely be considered. Even if you still want to host some private open houses for serious buyers, utilizing virtual open house options is an opportunity to explore a great new marketing technique.
Live Open Houses
You can use platforms like Facebook, Zoom, or Skype to host a live virtual house. You simply provide buyers with a link to your open house, they join the open house from their home computer, and then you can give them the full tour. Practice your tour a couple of times, and ask a friend or assistant to hold the camera during it. You want to ensure the tour looks professional, and provides all the information the potential buyers are looking for. Also make sure to stay logged on to the meeting for a while after your tour has ended to see if anyone in attendance has any questions for you.
Pre-recorded Open Houses
Pre-recorded open houses can be posted and promoted on all of your social media platforms. You can either decide to record a open house tour specifically for marketing purposes, or you can record one of your live open houses, save it, and then promote it on your channels.
Put You and Your Business First
Above all else it is essential to prioritize your health and safety during this time, and not just your physical health but your mental health as well. If you need more time to navigate the current uncertain and stressful situation, consider hiring a transaction coordinator to take care of your paperwork so you can spend more time accommodating to your clients. A TC can give you 16 hours back per transaction you use their services on. Does that extra time sound like it could be useful to you right now? Don’t hesitate to invest in the help you need to stay happy and healthy during this time.