Best Practices for Open Houses Amidst COVID-19 + Flu Season

Open house visitations by potential buyers or renters remains an important part of the real estate process. While COVID-19 and the flu have limited the ability to hold open houses and changed how they operate, it is still largely possible to host an open house. Before you do so however it is important to consult this quick guide on the matter.

Can I hold an Open House?

In order to hold an Open House first meet with your property brokers to discuss whether they are allowing them or not.  The next step is to consult city, state and federal guidelines and possible “Shelter in Place” orders. Shelter in Place orders can either allow or disallow Open Houses based on if real estate is listed as an essential service or not in the specific order. These recommendations and policies affect both if you can host an Open House and how they should look if it is permissible. If you have taken these steps and carefully considered, you now can proceed to preparing the Open House.

What is the Protocol for Open House Visitors?

The most important factor in safety for Open Houses’ during this time is managing the amount of visitors on the property and that they wear proper PPE.  Less than ten visitors are allowed in an Open House at the same time as per guidance from both the CDC and the president. It is also recommended to break up visiting groups so that only one group is on the property at any given time. When visitors are on the property you should ask them to limit the surfaces they touch-only doorknobs if possible. In addition to these measures, it is within your right to ask potential visitors if they are sick or have traveled recently, however ensure that you ask all visiting members to avoid discrimination. Once the visitors arrive, make sure they all are wearing proper PPE, being a face mask or other variant.

What Cleaning Procedures are Necessary?

When holding an Open House it is highly recommended to clean between visiting parties. This will ensure your safety, their safety and add an extra layer of comfort to your visitors as they survey the property.  When a party leaves, CDC guidelines are to wash your own hands for 20 seconds first. After this, clean the touch points in the house, usually doorknobs and other handles, with soap and water followed by disinfectant. In addition to this, open the windows in the house and turn on the fans to allow the air to filter properly within the house.

If you have any further questions make sure to ask your broker or consult the full CDC, presidential and local guidelines. Good luck on hosting your Open House and stay safe!