Posted in: Selling a home

Selling? How to prep for virtual open houses and safe in-home showings

How to prep for virtual open houses and safe in-home showings

Key insights

  • Many sellers have questions about how to safely allow guests into their home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • By working with a REALTOR®, you can help establish smart virtual tours or open houses that minimize the number of in-person guests to your home.
  • Your Realtor can also help reinforce safety standards for interested buyers who would like to tour your home in person.

If you’re hoping to sell your home in the coming months, you may have doubts about the safety of having buyers visit your property in person. Edina Realty Realtors and staff have been working for the last 7+ months to minimize COVID-19 spread, while still helping buyers and sellers facilitate home sales (which have been deemed essential to the economy).

We have developed guidelines that are in line with the CDC and other recommended public health protocols. Here are some considerations that sellers can keep in mind as they list their homes and prepare for virtual tours and open houses or in-person showings.

Best practices for virtual open houses or showings

While buyers will likely want to see your home in person before making an offer, they may be open to viewing the home via virtual tour as a first step. Alternatively, your agent may wish to build buzz for the listing by hosting a “virtual open house” that takes place on Facebook or another popular platform. Here are best practices for these virtual selling events.

1. Offer up a strong connection

The worst case scenario is for your Realtor to lose connection in the middle of a virtual open house or virtual showing. Work together to get your agent on your wifi well before the event, and do a test drive to ensure their connection is secure.

2. Minimize the glare

As you have likely seen on many Zoom meetings, glare from a window or light fixture can really ruin a virtual setting. Test out the lighting to ensure that your home looks as fantastic as it does in your listing photos. You may have to play with the curtains, blinds, overhead lights and side lamps to get the right virtual vibe.

3. Help your agent make it extra-special

When buyers can’t control their own visit, they may miss out on elements that would intrigue or delight them in person. Show your Realtor a few special features they should point out in their home tour.

Whether you’re most proud of your vintage brass door knocker, your laundry room’s custom cabinets or the USB ports you added to every room, be sure your agent knows what to play up on camera.

Hosting potential buyers in person? Here’s how to do it safely

If an interested buyer is ready to visit your home in person, there are ways to mitigate (though not fully eradicate) your risk. Ask your Realtor to help you reinforce these guidelines with in-person buyers and their agents.

1. Provide PPE and sanitizer

Provide alcohol-based hand sanitizer and masks. Leave a sign at the front entrance, asking buyers and their agents to wear the provided masks (or their own) and to apply hand sanitizer before entering your home. If any masks are left in your home, discard them after the showing or open house is over.

2. Request that visitors self-screen

You can also ask that each visitor self-screen by answering “No” to the following questions before entering.

  • In the last 48 hours, have you had any of the common symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, chills, cough, fatigue, headache, sore throat, runny nose? (The full symptom list is available here.)
  • Have you had contact with anyone that you know had COVID-19 or COVID-like symptoms in the last 14 days?
  • Have you had a positive COVID-19 test for active virus in the past 10 days?
  • Within the past 14 days, have you had to self-monitor, self-isolate, or self-quarantine because of concerns about COVID-19 infection?

3. Minimize surface touch

You can ask visitors not to touch any surfaces in your home, but you also want to give them the opportunity to see your entire home. Lower the need for guests to touch anything by:

  • Leaving lights on in every room (and in your garage, too)
  • Opening up kitchen cabinets and pantry
  • Leaving hall closets and bedroom closets slightly ajar
  • Opening interior doors that connect rooms or floor levels

You can also include hand sanitizer in each room to help guests reapply if they do end up touching a surface or door.

4. Be smart about numbers

At Edina Realty, we have advised our Realtors to have a maximum of 10 guests at one time during an in-person open house (including the agent showing the home). Home sellers can also speak with their agent to further limit the attendees or reinforce visiting guidelines. To ensure that guests don’t exceed the maximum, hang a sign on the front door, asking guests to wait until they have been greeted and invited in. Have your agent remind guests to maintain at least six feet of social distance from other attendees.

Stay safe, sell fast

For many homebuyers and homeowners, the COVID-19 pandemic has clarified their immediate living needs. And as a result, the market is continuing to move fast, with many desirable homes selling in a matter of days.

If you are hoping to sell in the coming months, but have concerns or questions about what to expect, we are here for you. Contact Edina Realty or your agent for personal, respectful guidance.

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings