Many Agents are doing 'Virtual' Open Houses, where they schedule an Open and stream walk-throughs of the home and take questions during the Virtual Open. But when the stay at home rules are relaxed or scaled back there needs to be a strategy in case you decide to do a 'Traditional' open house. Safety is paramount so the obvious goal is to run the open as safely and as contact free as possible. This may be the new normal for a long time to come.
Q: What if my client insists that I continue to hold open houses?
A: You are never required to put yourself at risk in servicing a client. Have an open and honest conversation with your client about your concerns with holding an open house at this time, including whether doing so would contradict current government recommendations or mandates, particularly in geographic areas with “shelter in place” mandates. If after discussing these issues, you and your client mutually agree to hold an open house, advise your client about necessary precautions to minimize exposure to, and the spread of, COVID-19.
Q: What precautions should be taken if an open house is held?
A: In accordance with guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the President, ensure that less than ten people are touring the home at any given time, and consider only allowing one buyer group to tour the home at a time. Be sure that guests maintain social distancing of six or more feet apart, and require potential buyers to wash their hands or to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer immediately upon entry and to remove shoes/cover footwear with booties. Also, be sure to check with your client before using any cleaning products, and recommend that your client disinfect their home after the open house, especially commonly touched areas like doorknobs and faucet handles.
Q: May I ask individuals whether they are sick or have recently traveled before touring the home?
A: Yes, you are never required to put yourself at risk in servicing a client, and it is reasonable to ask whether they are currently sick or have recently traveled. To avoid fair housing concerns, be sure to direct such questions to all potential buyers on an equal basis.