To stop the spread of the coronavirus/COVID-19, the Saint Paul Area Association of REALTORS® (SPAAR), in alliance with Minnesota REALTORS® and Minneapolis Area REALTORS®, has urged its members to not hold open houses at this time.
Effective as of Monday, March 23, NorthstarMLS suspended the scheduling of open houses immediately and until further notice, including the cancelling and removing of already-scheduled open houses from its home listing database.
“SPAAR understands and fully supports the difficult, but appropriate, decision made by RMLS leadership,” said Patrick Ruble, 2020 SPAAR President. “This decision was made after consultation with a number of member brokerages. Our highest priority has to be the health and well-being of REALTORS®, consumers and the larger community.”
Similarly, a number of brokerages are advising their agents to find alternatives to open houses. One alternative is conducting virtual showings, in which potential buyers can view the home as the agent navigates the property.
To keep safety in the forefront of the home-buying process should an agent conduct an in-person showing, REALTORS® should follow safe protocols that include:
- Drive separately and meet at the property.
- Only one client in a property at a time; sellers should vacate the property.
- Use hand sanitizer upon entering and exiting a property.
- Keep lights on when exiting the property to lessen risk of touch.
- Keep doors open (closets, pantry, cupboards) that buyers frequently want to view.
- Do not proceed with a showing if agent, buyer or seller doesn’t feel well or has known exposure to COVID-19.
“REALTORS® should continue to heed the current best practices in accordance with their brokerages, which reflect the CDC guidelines and are in the best interests of all clients and visitors,” Ruble added. “The COVID-19 pandemic is at a critical phase and it is all our responsibility to be careful, considerate and exercise every prudent precaution to protect the REALTOR® community, our clients and the public at large.”