No Open Houses! Say what?
For potential home buyers, the days of driving around town with the family, going from house to house, taking a self-guided tour of each home are pretty much over. And for us agents, the days of putting out sandwich boards pointing you in the right direction, setting up the home, putting out some snacks and just hanging out waiting to meet and chat with each of you are also gone… for now.
So now what?
How in world are you supposed to view homes during this pandemic… because that has dramatically changed since all of this started. It’s already November and we are still going!
Do you have to parachute in and rappel down through the chimney like Santa Claus? Do you have to dress in all black, wait until after midnight, and drive by a home really slowly with your lights off? Do you have to wear a full hazmat suit?
To start with, we are encouraging all buyers to do some research, online, ahead of time… even though we know most of you are doing that already! You can look through all of the details of a property along with photos, 3D tour videos, property specs, etc.
That said, at Elation Real estate, we work extremely hard to have all of those tools ready for you on all of our listings. By making these tools available online, we actually hope that this will limit the amount of buyers that actually schedule to look at the home by filtering out only the ones that are really serious.
What about open houses?
For those that can remember all the way back to the beginning of the year 2020, you might remember that we used to hold open houses. Seems like a lifetime ago, we know! We also personally showed properties, so that concept is not necessarily something new. So, besides the fact that’s all we’ve got now, the way we are doing it has dramatically changed!
Yes, for now, open houses are done, over, thing of the past, Terminated®… but… will they be back (in an Arnold Schwarzenegger voice)? Who knows? We guess time will tell. We are hoping the answer is yes, but for now open houses are prohibited.
Schedule an appointment?
Open houses are a super convenient way for buyers to view homes. Buyers loved the opportunity to view a home on their own time, on their own terms, with whomever they pleased, casually, over a weekend. Not being allowed to do that certainly makes it not so convenient anymore.
To make it worse, each buyer must make an individual appointment to see a home. Lately, it has been quite difficult to schedule an appointment, especially in such a hot market. On a really hot house, the appointments are typically scheduled every 30 minutes, from dusk till dawn, and they fill up quickly!
We, as agents, are having to use different apps, such as Calendly, in order to schedule these buyer appointments. We started out using an excel spreadsheet, but that got really old, really fast. With Calendly, agents can instantly see what is available and make appointments online. That way we don’t get 100’s of calls a day trying to squeeze in open appointments. How about 11am? Nope, full, how about 3pm? Nope, my clients can’t make that time, how about the next day at noon? Nope, full, how about 3 o’clock in morning next Thursday?
So how do you see a home?
If you are lucky enough to get an appointment, then there are the rules! For starters, only two buyers are allowed in a viewing party at a time. So, if a family of four wants to view the home, they must go in pairs. First Mom and Dad can go while kids wait out front (don’t worry, we’ll babysit). Then mom and son can go in. Then dad and daughter. Bringing Grandma with you too? Well you can see where we’re going here…
But even before we enter the home, we all have to sign a form called the Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration form that we affectionately refer to as a PEAD. Both the agent and anyone planning to enter the property, which can include stagers, inspectors, etc., are technically supposed to sign this form. Essentially it says that you understand that entering the property could be dangerous and unsafe, but you are also, to the best of your knowledge, confirming that you do not believe that you are currently afflicted with COVID-19, you have not been around anyone that has been exposed within the last 14 days, and you are not experiencing any symptoms. And make sure you’ve got your mask on!
Keeping it clean
We as agents also have documents that are taped to the front door that outline all of the rules for entering the property. Such rules as: “Don’t touch anything”. Well, that’s kind of hard since you have to touch the door knob to even open the door in the first place. As agents, we therefore equip ourselves with a variety of safety and sanitizing products such as hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes , masks, booties, and gloves. Buyers are technically supposed to bring those items themselves, but we at Elation Real Estate will typically have those readily available at the property, just in case. And typically it would be the agent opening doors and cabinets and showing the buyers around and then wiping down anything they touched. That’s how it is supposed to be.
It’s a crazy world we are living in right now. It is different, and interesting, but that is how we are doing it… for now. In a hot market like this, in trying to show a home, it is difficult to get an appointment unless you get it done early. Appointments are every 30 min, all day long, and are usually completely booked up all weekend long. It’s important to do the research and commit to the appointment sooner rather than later. Otherwise, just like toilet paper, the appointments will all be gone!
It’s a super different time, and strange for sure. But it is what it is and will be for a while now. Elation Real Estate is here to make the entire process as painless as it can possibly be! Feel free to reach out to any one of us for assistance. You’ll know where to find us… no compass needed!
All the best,
Your Elation Real Estate Team