After a tumultuous first few months in lockdown, the housing market is back in full swing at Alert Level 2, with in-person showings and, in some places, live open houses. While these practices are now allowed, erring on the side of caution is key when touring houses for sale during the COVID-19 pandemic – for your safety and that of the homeowners.
“Right now is the perfect time to use virtual home search tools to narrow down the properties you’re most serious about viewing in-person. After doing so, there are several safety protocols in place to help you stay safe while touring a house. These added precautions exist to help protect both you and those around you during your search for the perfect home,” explains Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.
The first safety measure is for clients to drive to the prospective property by themselves rather than in the real estate agent’s car. This will reduce the amount of time spent together in confined spaces. Once at the property, keep a safe, one and a half meters distance between yourself and anyone else in the home.
When viewing homes, remember to wear the mandatory protective face coverings that we are all required to wear when venturing outside our homes. “Our agents are required to provide hand sanitizer for their clients, but in case they run out, it is always best to bring along your own hand sanitizer too. Hands should be sanitized before and after entering the home. Once inside, touching any surfaces ought to be avoided at all costs,” Goslett explains.
Beyond this, Goslett reminds buyers that the agent is responsible for communicating the wishes of the seller – especially under unusual circumstances like COVID-19. “Remember that you are entering a home – someone’s safe space – during unsettling times. Be aware that the homeowner may have certain requests, like requiring visitors to wear gloves or shoe coverings, and is trusting the agent to make sure prospective buyers are taking precautions,” he mentions.
For open houses, there may be a limit to the number of people in the home at one time. Goslett recommends that buyers anticipate that they may need to wait outside in queue to minimize crowding.
Lastly, if you’re feeling even slightly under the weather, rather stay home and contact your agent to set a different time, access a virtual tour, or see the house via a platform like Zoom or FaceTime. Virtual tour platforms like the MyProperty Virtual Tour solution is also a great free solution for real estate agents
“Unusual times call for unusual rules. As strange as they may be, these added precautions are there to help protect you, your agent, and the seller for as long as the threat of COVID-19 continues to exist,” Goslett concludes.