4 Steps to Safely Show Real Estate During a Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way real estate showings are managed. In some states, open houses are prohibited unless a property is unoccupied or vacant. Masks and social distancing are mandatory for prospective buyers and their agents. In other states, rules are looser for home tours and showings.
When you're allowed to conduct home showings and tours, take extra steps to protect your clients and yourself from coronavirus. Here are four steps to conduct the safest real estate showings while the pandemic is active.
Develop and Circulate Your Safety Plans
The National Association of Realtors and other property-related organizations have developed detailed guidelines to help agents and sellers create safe showing protocols. Read through professional materials on COVID-19 precautions to create individualized safety plans for your showings.
Safe property-showing protocols should include the following:
- All parties must disclose if they have COVID-19 or potential symptoms.
- All parties must wear masks during property tours.
- Individuals must maintain six feet of distance from one another.
- All parties must wash and/or sanitize hands before entry.
- Prospective buyers should avoid touching any surfaces or items.
- Tour groups are limited to up to four people.
- Prospective buyers are prohibited from using bathrooms during tours.
After you or your real estate office create your safety protocols for home and property showings, make handouts, signage, emails, and other materials to spread the word about the behavior and safe practices you expect from your staff, prospective buyers, and property sellers. Since many people ignore such materials, cover your bases by verbally going over with buyers and sellers the rules for showings before you meet.
Double check that staff and clients understand the rules you've established to ensure safe showings. Allow buyers and sellers to ask questions, but be firm in your insistence that all parties adhere to your rules.
Carefully Plan Showing Blocks
While open houses are unsafe during a pandemic, proper scheduling of in-person tours limits the exposure of people and property to potential COVID-19 contamination.
Arrange property showings in two- to four-hour blocks of time. Schedule each party for a 15- to 30-minute tour of the premises. The staggered arrivals cut down on traffic outside yet allow two to four groups to view the home per hour.
Explain to buyers that they must remain in their vehicles until you invite them inside for their tour. Due to excitement about viewing a property, some buyers may ignore any external signs that state these rules.
If the sellers of properties are in high risk groups (elderly or immunocompromised), ask that no children be present during tours. While this may limit the number of potential buyers at block showings, you're protecting the buyer from potential COVID-19 transmission. When parents are distracted, kids can't be counted on to keep their hands off toys or avoid using toilets.
Set Up Safe Showing Environments
Plan ahead to prepare properties for the safest showings possible. Place signs outside of properties informing prospective buyers to remain outside until invited inside to take their tour. Inside properties, post signs that reiterate the property-tour rules.
All doors, curtains, cabinets, and closets should be opened before the block showings. All lights should be turned on as well. The owners of occupied properties can perform these tasks before the showings. In vacant properties, the agent should arrive ahead of schedule to prepare the properties.
Purchase the following items to have on hand at all showings:
- Hand sanitizer
- Liquid hand soap
- Paper towels
- Proper face masks
- Disinfectant wipes and sprays
In some cases, sellers may ask that prospective buyers wear disposable booties over their shoes. Some sellers may request that prospective buyers take their shoes off and leave them at the front entrance.
All parties should use hand sanitizer before entering properties. Hand washing is also encouraged. The paper towels you purchased keep buyers from using towels or other linens in the home to dry their hands.
Bring along a small trash receptacle and box of liners. Keep the trash bin outside the front door of the property, so buyers can safely dispose of masks, gloves, and booties after their tours.
Disinfect Thoroughly After Showings
When a block showing is finished for the day, it's time to sanitize the property. Use disinfectant wipes to sanitize:
- House keys
- Door handles
- Cabinet pulls
- Sink faucets
- Any other surfaces touched by tour groups
Encourage property owners to do their own disinfection processes after they return home (or to their commercial properties). Doubling the post-tour cleanup process means doubling the precautions against COVID-19 spread.
It's not easy to show properties during a pandemic. However, with advance planning, effective communication, diligent adherence to rules, and the proper supplies, you can conduct property tours while keeping yourself and others as safe as possible from potential coronavirus infections.
10 Steps to a Professionally Staged Kitchen
The kitchen is one of the first things home buyers look at, and if they do not like what they see they may never go beyond that room. If you have seen plenty of people at your open houses but still no buyers, it may be time to some professional staging.
You do not necessarily have to stage every part of your home, and if cash is tight full professional staging may not be possible. But focusing your staging efforts on the kitchen just might turn the tide, and here are 10 steps for kitchen staging success.
Home Seller Cheat Sheet for House Showings
When your realtor wants to show your home to a potential buyer in an hour or so, do you panic? Keep reading for 10 check-off items to get your home ready for the next showing. Keeping your house in order and clean on a daily basis can reduce the amount of work necessary from each of the 10 cheat-sheet items listed below.
(1) Vacuum the Floors
It's important to give the floors a quick vacuum immediately before a potential buyer comes to tour your home. Run the vacuum back and forth in straight lines to make pile carpet look newer and fluffier. Avoid stepping on the carpet after you've finished vacuuming to keep it looking fresh. In addition, fluff up area and scatter rugs with a quick vacuum. Run the dust mop or vacuum over hard-surface floors to collect visible lint or dirt.
(2) Stash Pet-Related Items
Sometimes it's an absolute deal-breaker if a buyer sees pet stuff lying around. So, put away your pet bowls, toys, cages, food, and treats inside a cabinet or storage tub where they're not visible.
Selling Your House? Keep Up Appearances for Passers-By
f you're trying to sell your house, you'll be giving it a clean and shine for every official viewing. But what about the unofficial ones - the passers-by you don't even notice? Remember - your property is on view to anyone passing by, including prospective buyers, so it's in your interest to keep up appearances day in, day out. Here's a checklist to simplify the task:
Maintain your grounds
If you have a front lawn, mow it regularly and keep the edges neatly trimmed. You can't be expected to have flowers in bloom year-round, but keep your shrubs and borders in good order. If you have a front hedge, give it frequent shaves for constant smartness and check for weeds and litter at the base.
7 Reasons for Home Buyers to Fall in Love With Your House
A typical home buyer has many options when searching for a new place to call home. So, how can you make a potential buyer fall in love with your home over any other? Read the following seven reasons that can make your home stand out among the numerous houses that a buyer has to choose from. The information in this article is relevant, useful, and important if you're thinking of selling your house in the future.
1) Good Vibes
Potential home buyers rely on their senses to gain valuable information about your home after they take the first step inside your front door. If the interior spaces smell great and look wonderful, a home buyer will get good vibes.
4 Incredible Ideas on How to Make Your Home Smell Amazing
The most daunting question is how you will go about eradicating the awful smells. To save yourself from the last minute rush of suppressing the smell once you get an impromptu call that your friend is stopping by, or your realtor needs to show your listing, here are some excellent ideas on how to make your house smell nice.
Tackle the smell from its root
Eliminating the stinks from their root maybe time-consuming but will save you from the horrible smells. Here are the areas you should check out.
1. Leftovers in the fridge
2. Unclean pet areas
3. Dirty upholstery