How Open Houses and Property Showings have Changed since Shelter-in-place

by arlene on July 12, 2020

For the June 30th edition of the San Francisco Chronicle Sound Off column, this was my contribution, plus some additional comments:

With in-person open homes still prohibited in the East Bay, agents are instead scheduling Virtual Open Houses, advertised at set times. Instagram Live, FaceBook Live and Zoom are all platforms in use for these fairly quick—usually half hour or so—walkthroughs with the agent at the property, sharing a narrated tour. For a more engaging method, I will be partnering with a colleague, with him filming at my listing, while I fill in details and share some of the back-story, as well as answering questions from viewers.

Virtual opens are mostly still on weekends, though any day is now an option. There is talk within our real estate community of standardizing the times, in an attempt to make them easier to find by potential buyers. Social media is a key means of advertising these e- events, and we are also discussion the option of using consistent hashtags within those posts such as #EastBayVOH. Stay tuned!

Now a very high percentage of listings have some manner of video available to help buyers narrow down to just a few homes they could imagine being seriously interested in, and want to visit in person. Online 3-D walkthroughs, a professionally produced video tour, a narrated slide show, or an agent-produced casual tour are all currently being used. It’s exciting to see how quickly our industry has adapted creatively, while still ensuring that our sellers’ homes receive excellent exposure.

Before we schedule a physical walk-through of the property, keep in mind, per California Association of REALTORS and OSHA guidelines, you’ll need to sign a Property Entry Advisory and Declaration (PEAD), bring your own masks, diligently wash or sanitize your hands, avoid touching anything, and only two people from the same household are allowed at one time – if you are bringing others or a child(ren) under 12 they’ll need to wait outside. I will need to acquire the disclosures, and ask that all potential buyers skim through those and sign off on the cover sheets. I will also need to send each listing agent a copy of your preapproval letter, documenting your financial capabilities. Obviously you will only want to go through these procedures, and possibly incur some risk, for homes in which you have serious interest.

If the home is “the one,” let’s talk about what would make a strong offer!



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