Viewings During COVID-19
Private viewings and open houses provide opportunities for buyers to view your property and get a sense of what it is like to live there. Ideally, you will want them to be impressed by what they see – and motivated to make an offer. With COVID-19 still being a huge setback, we want to ensure that everyone is safe and healthy. With that in mind, several new recommendations have been made by the New York State Association of REALTORS in regards to Phase 2 in New York State.
- May only be conducted in unoccupied (if there is an occupant, they must not be present) and vacant property.
- Licensee should limit the number of individuals viewing the property to the greatest extent possible.
- Licensees should schedule all showings in advance, whenever possible.
- Licensees and consumers must wear an appropriate face covering at all times.
- Gloves and shoe coverings can also be required by the owner or broker.
- Brokers must provide appropriate face coverings to licensees.
- Licensees should consider having a supply of appropriate face coverings with them in the event the buyer/seller does not have one. Any party not wearing an appropriate face covering may not enter the property.
- Licensees should not dispose of PPE at the property being shown.
- Consumers should be instructed to only touch essential surfaces, such as the use of a handrail to go up or downstairs. Consumers should be instructed not to touch other areas or surfaces including cabinets, countertops, appliances, etc.
- Licensees are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces such as doorknobs and handrails. As a best practice, licensees should disinfect every surface that was touched during a showing.
- Showing times should be staggered so as not to have the next scheduled buyer/tenant waiting outside for the current showing to end.
- As a best practice, only one party should be in the property at a time. If more than one party is inside the property at the same time, 6 feet of distance must be maintained at all times between individuals, and face coverings must be worn (face coverings are already mandatory).
- Licensees and buyers/tenants are encouraged not to bring young children or extraneous guests to property showings, when possible, or leave attended children outside.
- Licensees should screen each seller/buyer/landlord/tenant prior to a showing. Licensees should discuss the use of the screening questionnaire with the seller/landlord and whether the seller/landlord requires potential buyers/tenants to answer the questions before being permitted access to the property. NYSAR strongly recommends that such screening be done remotely (phone, email, etc.). The following questions must be asked as part of the screening process:
- knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19,
- tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or
- has experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
- Require seller/lessor to disclose if they become symptomatic and/or they test positive for COVID-19 within 48 hours of the last visit to their property.
- Require buyer/lessee to disclose if they become symptomatic and/or they test positive for COVID-19 within 48 hours of the last visit to a property.
- Although the Guidance Documents permits open houses, it includes restrictions.
- Only one party may be inside the property at a time. The licensee needs to be sure no other parties can enter.
- Licensees choosing to hold a traditional open house run the risk of multiple parties congregating outside the property waiting for their turn to view the property or attempting to enter the property while another party is inside. Licensees should make every attempt to schedule showing times for an open house to avoid such issues.
- Licensees should not dispose of PPE at the property where the open house is held.
As your real estate agent, I ensure we maximize the potential of every viewing and open house. To accomplish that, I advise you on how best to prepare your property, I market it to qualified buyers, and then, at viewings, draw their attention to the great qualities of your house.
When it comes to scheduling, I coordinate with you to select days and times that are as convenient as possible. Obviously, I encourage you to be as flexible as you can, as that will enable more buyers to see your property. Weekends, in particular, are popular for viewings.
Don’t worry about all the details. I take care of all aspects of scheduling viewings, as well as planning and hosting open houses, as well as handling safety precautions (gloves, masks, sanitizer, etc.).
Although I do most of the work, there are a few things you can do to make viewings more successful:
- Make sure your house is neat and clean.
- Remove personal items such as family pictures. This makes it easier for buyers to imagine themselves living in the house.
- Find a place to go, such as a park or shopping mall. Buyers are more comfortable if they can view the property without you there.
- If possible, remove your pets. You can take them for a walk, or to a local pet sitting service or kennel.
- Ensure the walkway leading up to your house is clear.