COVID 19:Rules of the Road
Selling real estate can get messy but when you throw in a pandemic it makes things complicated because there isn’t a playbook to reference. In California, the first place to look is at the Association of Realtors. Posted on the California Association of Realtors CAR.org website are the rules and requirements professional real estate agents are required to follow during these trying times in addition to the Executive Orders issued by Governor Newsom.
One of the many questions sellers ask is if holding an open house is possible. Initially, this was prohibited but the moratorium has since been lifted and agents are allowed to provide that service but can refuse to do so. Why an agent would refuse to hold an open house during a pandemic has more to do with the liability and health & safety than taking a Sunday afternoon off. Although the listing contract states that an agent will provide a variety of marketing techniques, holding open houses can pose health risks to the sellers which might not be realized for several days. Smart agents provide alternatives such as virtual tours or appointment only schedules that can shuttle people through in a timely fashion during the open house hours. If you do choose to allow open houses it is wise to have all the CDC safety protocols in place and be prepared to clean and sanitize the frequently used objects (doorknobs, cabinet pulls, etc) after the event.
Most people agree that allowing strangers walk through your home is awkward, but that’s part of the home selling process. What’s more awkward is anticipating that someone could spread a virus on the mirror of your medicine cabinet. One of the most important items real estate agents need to do is post the rules for entry which warns all entrants of their obligation to agree to liability upon entry. The new listing protocols will outline the terms of your agreement but also adds addendums that the seller and buyers must sign for entry. This protects all parties from liability should someone come down with Covid and that gets traced back to the home. So be forewarned and keep a bottle of 10% alcohol solution handy to wipe down any surface you suspect might be touched.