More homebuyers are now ready to attend open houses compared with those who rely on virtual home tours. Although virtual tours are convenient and safe in this time of the coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, attending an open house in-person lets homebuyers get to experience what it feels like while inside the home that they want to buy.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has issued a guidance that realtors should observe in the new normal as restrictions are now loosening amid this national health crisis. If you’re attending several open house tours, it’s important that you’re familiar with some of the safety protocols before and during each open house tour you will attend to significantly reduce your risk of COVID-19 exposure.
Safety protocols before an in-person open house
If you’re working with a real estate agent, which is often advisable, he or she needs to confirm that you have a pre-qualification letter or a mortgage pre-approval to limit the number of showings to serious homebuyers. Once you’re at the location, your realtor will advise you to stay inside your vehicle until he or she arrives. Your realtor will request you and the home seller to self-disclose whether you have shown any symptoms or known or potential exposures to COVID-19. If you’re viewing a vacant property, your realtor should arrive early to open the doors, windows, cabinets, and closets. Depending on the state and local restrictions regarding the number of people in an open house, your realtor may discourage you to bring in “non-essential parties”. Before entering a property, your realtor should require you to immediately wash your hands and wear protective gear like a face mask and gloves.
Realtors must be aware of the state and local executive orders confirming the permissibility and all requirements in an in-person showing. Moreover, realtors must comply with the Guidance for Fair Housing Compliance During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Safety protocols during an in-person open house
Upon meeting in-person, your realtor should not shake your hands. When viewing a property, your realtor will strictly recommend that you practice social distancing, maintaining at least 6 feet of space with other people to reduce exposure to COVID-19. In the new normal, your realtor would advise you not to touch surfaces and fixtures while inside the property. Refrain from using the property’s bathroom as instructed by your realtor. Your realtor must not share with your personal things. Sharing your phone, a paper, or a pen with your realtor could increase your risk of catching the virus. Ask your realtor for any additional safety requirements that you need to follow when entering a property.
After viewing a property in-person, realtors must ensure that other homebuyers (as well as the homeowners) will get the same protection during an in-person open house viewing. Aside from cleaning and sanitizing every surface touched within the property, realtors are required to maintain a log of information of people entering the property for easy contact tracing.
Because of the ongoing national health crisis, your realtor will encourage you to consider open house virtual tours to ensure your family’s health.
Apply for an advance approval at AEM
A mortgage pre-approval lets home sellers know that you’re a serious homebuyer because a lender has determined that you can take out a mortgage to buy a home. If you’re serious to fulfill your homeownership dreams, an American Eagle Mortgage loan advisor can help you get advance approval. Get in touch with us today to learn more about your options.