Ahhhhhh, the good old days when you could go to open houses and make showing appointments until your heart’s content. Wait… Wasn’t that only a few months ago? Covid-19 has changed that for sure. But, no one has to give up on their dreams of finding the perfect home. It is just a different experience.
Here is what to expect.
The traditional open house with lots of people exploring a house on the market is, for now, a thing of the past. New York State has put rules into effect about how open houses can be run. There can only be one “party” in the house at one time. That limits entry to the person or people who are buying the house.
Many open houses will be by appointment only. I know, it’s counterintuitive to what an “open house” is, but in a pandemic, we are learning to roll with the “new” normal. If you don’t have an appointment or are early, you may be asked to wait in your car if there is someone is already in the house. Anyone entering will be asked standard screening questions about being exposed to Covid-19 or being around someone who has. You will be asked to sign a Covid-19 disclosure form, stating that you understand the risks of entering someone else’s home.
You will need to wear a mask (NYS requirement) and possibly gloves or the paper booties over their shoes (according to the wishes of the homeowner).
Having brochures and other informational paper materials in the house for attendees is not recommended but all of these things can be obtained virtually – you just have to ask! Bringing children or others to see a house is also discouraged. If children are present with two adults, it is encouraged that the children wait outside with one adult while the other views the house. Then they can switch.
Once inside, attendees will be asked to touch only what is necessary, like a stair rail. All lights in the house should be on with closet doors and some cabinet doors open so you can see without having to touch any doorknobs. After touring the house, the agent is required to disinfect all touched surfaces. There also must be 15 minutes between showings, so be prepared to wait.
Regular house showings will also be different. Much of what is written above will apply. People interested in a home may be asked to view virtual tours and possibly provide proof of funds or a mortgage preapproval before an in-person showing will be scheduled. They may also be asked to drive their own vehicle from one house to another or wear a mask if in the car with an agent. The owner or tenant cannot be present.
As of this writing, it is unknown how long this protocol will last, but it is there to keep everyone healthy and safe, allow sellers to move forward and allow buyers to seek out their newest dream.
Edith Pulizzotto, SRES, CBR, RSSP, CIREC
Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty
5 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor