Alright, let’s get through this.
Time seems to have come to a stand still. We’ve been living in this new world for over a year now with no end in sight it seems. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the restrictions that have been birthed as a result of the pandemic, we as Realtors have guidelines that we must follow when conducting in-person showings.
Real estate was effectively shut down for the better part of two months last year before it got classified as “essential”. Since then we have had to follow certain guidelines that are intended to keep us and our clients safe. As time goes by it gets easier and easier to forget these guidelines and even easier to not follow them through. This is just to serve as a friendly reminder that we still have guidelines we must follow and to remind us exactly what those guidelines are.
PAR recommends and encourages virtual showings. This isn’t going to fly with most buyers as they are going to want to see a home in person. After all, you wouldn’t want to purchase a car without test driving it first — unless of course it’s a 2003 yellow Chevrolet SSR. Showings are to be limited to a maximum of 30 minutes, as overlapping showings are prohibited. This should allow enough time to walk through the property while also allowing for the most amount of showings in a single day. Listing agents should restrict showings to 30 minutes right from the get-go through ShowingTime.
Aside from the buyer agent, only the buyers making the purchase decision should be present for the showing. So moms, dads, aunts, uncles, cats and dogs should not attend if they aren’t making the purchase. Obviously if your buyer has small children who can’t be left unattended, they are permitted. When physically inside the property, masks must also be worn, and hand sanitizer must be utilized. If you’re like me, then you probably already keep hand sanitizer in your car at all times. I also like to keep a plunger, a wedding dress and a farmers’ almanac in my trunk because you just never know.
All individuals attending a showing should complete a health screening beforehand. Agents can utilize the PAR form COVID-HSA. If not using the form, then a simple text will suffice. Agents can text or even email their clients the questions from the HSA form prior to their showing. It’s good to have something in writing to not only minimize the risk of exposure, but also to make sure you are protected in the event a situation arises where a record is required.
Buyer agents should also make sure to check the MLS notes and comply with any property access instructions set by the seller. It is their home after all; so if they want you to wear a hazmat suit while double fisting cans of Lysol, you might want to be aware of that. When showing a property in a condominium, HOA or any type of planned community, be aware of any rules regarding access to buildings or common areas.
Listing agents are encouraged to post signage on the property with any specific showing requirements . . . believe it or not, not every agent reads the showing instructions. Agents should also check with their broker as brokers may have certain rules and guidelines they require their agents to follow.
Sellers are encouraged to vacate their home during showings and are encouraged to leave all lights on and interior doors open to help minimize contact with switches and knobs. Buyers and buyer agents should avoid making physical contact with anything in the property when possible. However, any surface that is touched must be sanitized. Sellers will often provide sanitizer wipes for showings, but showing agents should keep some handy just in case. Showing agents are also discouraged from leaving behind business cards. Before leaving the property, sanitize the door knob and also the key before placing it back in the lockbox.
That pretty much sums it up. I know we’re all pretty much over it at this point and that everything I just went over is common sense. But for now this is the world we live in, and these are the guidelines that must be followed. These are just the guidelines that pertain to showings — there are of course guidelines that must be followed with regard to other aspects of real estate.
For more detailed information about PAR’s COVID guidelines, click here.
Richard Boas, III, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices HomeSale Realty
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