Open Houses: Then vs Now & What to Expect

Dated: September 24 2020

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A staple in the residential real estate market, open houses help bring new audiences into homes, show off new listings, and keep the listing fresh in the public's mind as a listing remains active. But what about now? Are they allowed? Has their absence affected home sales? What are things that you, as the public, need to know about potentially attending an open house? Let's take a look.

A timeline of open house restrictions

Before the pandemic, it was commonplace for us to host open houses almost every weekend on some of our listings. During the first few months of lockdown, open houses were necessarily banned and eyes shifted from open houses on the streets, to looking at homes online exclusively. As COVID restrictions have lessened, public open houses have been reintroduced, but limited almost exclusively to vacant listings as of May to June. From June to the present, open houses are permitted on all listing types, but it's still more encouraged to book a private showing with an agent to view a house safely. Sellers have full and final say in whether or not they'll allow open houses. 

How things changed as a result

Despite their popularity and general necessity for residential sales, their absence hasn't had a huge effect. Largely because online open houses provide people with the safest way to tour homes! For us, this transition was thankfully seamless since we've been making open house video tours for all of our active listings since 2008. This year, we've added drone footage to our videos, which is an exciting and dynamic way to introduce and show the surrounding community for homes, and the best way to showcase plots of land. This, with the addition of our 3D floorplans, and our listings were hosting their own open houses 24/7!

Plans moving forward

Like we mentioned before, we haulted almost all open house activity. But with a vacant listing in Silver Springs, Robbie has hosted a few since restrictions were lifted, and Kerry hosted one this past Sunday in Tuscany. That said, it's important to keep in mind the protocols that are in place when attending an open house in today's climate:

1. Masks are mandatory

This shouldn't really surprise anyone at this point. An open house is technically a public space, so it's required. 

2. Gloves are recommended (and provided!)

Even in vacant listings, it's a good idea for the safety of the other people who are touring as well as any time that an owner may enter their property before selling. NOTE: Gloves & masks will be provided at our open houses! They are also provided (along with masks) at all of our occupied listings to keep the safety of our sellers top of mind. 

3. Group numbers are limited for social distancing protocols

Plan for only two of you to view the house at once. Depending on the seller, more restrictions may also be in place that restrict children from entering the home, so it's best to limit who sees the home as much as possible. Otherwise throw up a fun and interactive 3D tour to show the kids what the home is like on the inside!

Modern technology has helped make the pandemic more manageable for real estate, hosting our open houses online, and providing the opportunity for virtual tours. Stay tuned for a "Year in Review" blog coming at you soon outlining how the 2020 real estate market has faired so far. Otherwise stay safe and healthy!

You can check out our video open houses here:

For more information or to find out how to safely buy or sell a home with us, give us a shout:

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Kerry Stevenson

Kerry has been an award-winning top agent with Royal LePage since 1980. He uses his creative, innovative, and technical skills to lead the curve when helping others buy and sell homes. His years of ex....

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Open Houses: Then vs Now & What to Expect

A staple in the residential real estate market, open houses help bring new audiences into homes, show off new listings, and keep the listing fresh in the public's mind as a listing remains active.

Read More