The pandemic changed the way people bought residential real estate. Traditional marketing standbys, like the venerable “Open House,” gave way to virtual tools. With California on the verge of reopening, will in-person open houses return?
The California Association of Realtors said in a statement in early May the organization was “actively working with representatives of the California Dept. of Health to conform real estate guidelines with recent CDC guidance as well as those that apply to other businesses.”
“We are hopeful,” said the statement, “that, as part of this process, individually signed Property Entry Advisory and Declaration (PEAD) forms soon will no longer be necessary. It is always our goal to make sure the industry operates safely and remains consistent with current health directives, such as wearing masks and hand washing, without requiring individualized statements and unnecessary cleaning.”
As of today, however, the CAR has not mandated any loosening of restrictions with regard to home showings.
As California opens up, vaccination rates increase and COVID dangers lessen, a new set of guidelines may be forthcoming, however.
Since July 2, 2020, however, the Departments of Public Health and Cal/OSHA revised their industry guidance regarding Real Estate Transactions. Since then, realtors have been advised not to hold “traditional” open houses or showings that are open to the general public on a walk-in basis, and to use an appointment or digital sign-in process to control the number of people at the house.
Any “open house” signs or ads included a rider or express condition that appointments or digital sign-in are required before entry. Only one listing agent and one “buying party” (including the buyer’s agent) were allowed in the dwelling at the same time.
All visitors still must currently obtain a Property Entry Advisory and Declaration (PEAD) form, given to and signed by the seller, buyer, agents and anyone else who will be entering the property.
All of that could change as California officially reopens on June 15, although every realtor may not really want that to happen.
While the CAR has not updated its COVID-19 requirements as of yet, one realtor is in no hurry to go back the other way.
“Quite frankly,” said Pasadena realtor Rita Whitney, “I have to tell you, I would love for it to remain the way it is now, with home showings only by appointment. I think it’s helpful and quite smart. It’s helpful as it relates to all kinds of things, including security monitoring and the number of people in a house.”
Continued Whitney, “Everything has actually been quite nice.”
Whitney added that she would perhaps like things to remain as they are currently, without perhaps, any COVID-19 addendums.
Everything else was important, said Whitney, and necessary during the pandemic.
“It actually helped with managing showings,” she added.
Realtor Teresa Fuller, agreed to an extent, saying that she didn’t think much would change in terms of protocols, even after June 15.
“I’m comfortable with the protocols now,” she said, “even if forms are still required.”