How to Visit an Open House During the COVID-19 Pandemic
When you're planning to buy a house, the best way to get a feel for the space, its flow and its size is to go there and see it for yourself. The home-buying process has changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditional open houses that attract a crowd of people aren't possible for now, so buyers, sellers and real estate agents have had to change the process of home tours and showings. Use these tips to navigate and plan for open houses while the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Arrange a Real-Time Tour Conducted by the Agent
Just like you can make a private online shopping appointment with a small business, you could arrange a private online tour with a real estate agent. This would allow you to virtually experience walking through the home without having to be there yourself. The real estate agent could do this with you privately for a video call. They could also set up a Zoom or similar tour, which would allow them to invite up to 100 participants for the virtual tour of the home. A benefit of a real-time tour is the ability to ask a question or have the agent show you a particular feature of the home.
Watch a Recorded Tour
Some sellers may not want a parade of different real estate agents going through their homes. If you're not able to do a live streaming tour with the seller's agent, you could inquire about a recorded tour. Some enterprising agents do these immediately after listing a home for sale and post them on their websites. Others only do this if it is requested of them. A recorded tour is convenient because you can watch it any time, but it's not as helpful as being at the residence in person.
Ask for a Private Appointment
An agent may be willing to give you a tour of the home with strict COVID-19 precautions in place. You may need to have your temperature checked and use hand sanitizer before entering the home. You'll also need to wear a mask. You may be asked not to touch any surfaces with your bare hands. If you're feeling unwell or have been exposed to COVID-19, cancel your showing. Instead, opt for a recorded or live streaming tour.
Attending a Regular Open House
In some locations, open houses are continuing but in a slightly different way. The agent may only allow one family to tour the home at a time. Between tours, the agent may go through and sanitize surfaces that were touched, such as hand railings or light switches. If it's a large home, more than one family may be allowed inside the dwelling. If that's the case, plan to maintain social distancing and wear masks. If you tour a house in person, be sure to use hand sanitizer when you return to your vehicle. Avoid touching your face before washing your hands.