Open houses are back
Governor Inslee loosened a number of restrictions this week, for real estate that means open houses are back, but with some caveats:
- Post signs at the property (e.g. on the open house signs, at the front door, inside the property etc.) alerting the public to the occupancy restriction (in Seattle that’s 5 people) and reminding the public to wear face coverings and social distance.
- Brokers need to carefully monitor the number of persons on site at any one time and not admit more than the allowed number of persons into the property.
- Brokers need to constantly monitor the front door and potentially lock the door from time to time to prohibit additional persons from entering.
- Firms may consider assigning two brokers to an open house – one to stand outside and monitor the number of persons admitted to the property, and the other to be inside the property.
- Brokers must enforce the face covering requirement.
- Persons waiting to enter the property must social distance and wear face coverings.
- Clean and disinfect all surfaces, before and after the open house, and have sanitizer placed around the property.
- Because contact tracing in the event of an outbreak is important, brokers should maintain contact information for all attending an open house.
- Please keep in mind that the firm and broker hosting an open house are at risk of criminal and civil liability for failure to fully comply with the required protocols.
In private agent-only Facebook groups, most agents are hesitant about hosting open houses during Covid. Many are concerned with how many people they’re required to meet on a daily basis as it is and open houses will cause them to interact with even more. They’re also concerned about crowd management. Plus with sales at their highest level since the market peaked in 2018, they’re clearly not necessary to sell homes. However, sellers seem to think they help sell homes and they’re great for new real estate agents to meet clients.
Clearly some agents aren’t concerned about them as there are already over 151 scheduled in Seattle.