Less than one week before the state’s official June 15 reopening, Pasadena real estate brokers and agents, who have worked with tight COVID-19 regulations for more than a year, can now show homes in person again.
The new regulations were announced in mid-May but the loosened rules were not widely known until recent weeks. Reaction from Realtors appears to be mixed. Some in-person Open Houses are beginning to re-appear.
“We’re legally allowed in Pasadena. Because Pasadena has its own health department, we can have a two hour open house to the public that doesn’t require prior signing of a disclosure file related to COVID,” explained Pasadena Realtor Adam Bray-Ali.
All that is required, is a simple sign-in. Visitors are required to provide their personal information to be used to contact tracing, he said.
The Pasadena-Foothills Association of Realtors (PFAR) announcement back in May said that “in-person property showings, such as an open house, are permitted and must adhere to the indoor gatherings capacity limits in the California Department of Public Health gatherings guidance.”
“We’re going to start to see open house signs again,” said Bray-Ali.
Bray-Ali said he held an open house in early June “and it was, I felt, very successful. And so we are going to be doing open houses now — you’ll see them popping up this week, pretty rapidly.”
Realtor Todd Hays added, “It is very exciting news for all of us. Right now it’s still regulated, in that it has to be less than two hours.”
But Realtors can hold multiple two-hour windows in one day, he explained.
“Theoretically you could have an open house from 12 to 2 and then 5 to 7,” said Hays, “but you couldn’t have an open house from 12 to 5. It has to be a two-hour window. You have to take a break. Ideally, to clean the property. And then have a second two-hour window.”
Pasadena Director of Public Health and Health Officer Dr. Ying-Ying Goh confirmed in an email to Pasadena Now that “local orders are mostly aligned with the state, with only a few specific areas that are detailed in protocols, because the state’s guidance is more general.”
According to the most recently revised state guidelines, in-person showings of properties, like open houses, are permitted and must follow the indoor gatherings capacity limits in the CDPH gatherings guidance, said Goh.
People who feel sick or have COVID-19 symptoms are not permitted to attend, physical distancing between different households must be maintained, and hand sanitizer should be made available, say the regulations.
Face coverings are also required. Realtors are advised to see the California Department of Public Health guidance for the use of face coverings for details and exceptions. All other restrictions in the real estate guidance remain in place.
Not all Realtors are ready to stage wide-open showings yet.
“I would like to see things remain the way they’ve been in the COVID era,” said Realtor Bill Podley, “Primarily because so many homes are staged today and and in so many homes, the owners are not there during the day for showings. And it’s just a simpler, cleaner process in my humble opinion.
Podley added, “There are agents who enjoy the face-to-face of giving detailed explanations on how and when we could still have an agent at a house, even through the controlled showing process. I’ll have one of my associates host the open house, and answer questions and that’s fine.
“But,” Podley concluded, “the idea of just the public wandering through (homes), I don’t know that we should be going back to that, personally.”