Friday, May 8, 2020

Listing, AND SAFELY SHOWING, property during the Coronavirus pandemic....

Last week, the Sacramento County Public Health Director modified the our local directive to allow the showing of occupied property. Many of my seller clients rejoiced! And then, after that initial "yay, I can finally sell my house!" excitement, literally all of them had the same realization: "Oh, now I actually have to have a parade of other people in my home."

After having to "Stay at Home" in Sacramento County for nearly 7 weeks, and having limited contact with other people outside of the household, for many sellers this is a scary proposition.

So I have been having the same conversation over and over again lately -- how do I safely show my home? And I thought it might be helpful to post how my seller clients and I are approaching listing and safely (as possible) showing homes.

Given our unique public health circumstances, it is probably pretty important not to let just anyone who wants to see your house inside for a showing. In consultation with my sellers, I came up with a few different types showing options for them to consider.

Again, this is something every Sacramento home seller must contemplate and implement per their own comfort level. As agents we can make no guarantees that these strategies will prevent the risk of getting sick, but sellers may wish to take as many precautions as they believe are necessary.

I listed an occupied property late last week and the method we used to control showings seemed to work pretty well. Most importantly, we limited the flow of people through the property to only serious buyers, AND we didn't impede our ability to show and get offers on it. Basically we required buyers and their agents to jump through some hoops before a showing appointment was granted.

First, the buyers were directed to thoroughly review all marketing photos, 3D tours, inspection reports, and disclosures available in MLS in advance. Then if they had significant interest in the property they had to sign a document called a PEAD (Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration) where they swear that they have not been exposed to Coronavirus, have not had symptoms, etc and that they will follow best practices for viewing another property (wear personal protective gear, not touch anything, etc).

Second, they had to prove they were either pre-approved or had enough cash to purchase the home for at least the listing price.

Third, they had to sign and submit all showing instructions documents 24 hours in advance of scheduling a showing.

This seemed to do a pretty good job of vetting the looky-loos and we ended up with serious buyers only. A sample of the showing instructions is pictured above.

I drafted three alternate "showing instructions" scenarios for them to consider. These are of varying rigidity and can be modified based on a seller's comfort level.

Option A is what this most recent seller opted to do. It seemed to work well and seemed to successfully screen the looky-loos out while offering a little flexibility to buyers and agents to request showing days/times.

Option B is a bit more rigid -- I replaced the bullet points with spots for buyers to initial (which should ideally convey certain concepts more strongly). I added a section where the buyers/agent can indicate which showing day/time(s) they prefer, where in Option A we allow the buyers/agents to request times. I also added a requirement that the buyers are not making an offer contingent on the sale of another property -- which you may or may not wish to limit, as that will eliminate some showings/buyers.

Option C is very rigid and requires that the buyer actually makes an offer (relying on the virtual tour, photos, and reports) in order to schedule a also provides fewer appointment time options to see the home.

Of course all of these can be adapted for specific situations.

The California Association of Realtors published some COVID19 Best Practices that you may find useful as well.

While Option A is pictured in this post, if you would like the verbiage from Options B and C, I am happy to share via email. Shoot me a request at And of course if you are thinking about selling your Sacramento home, I am happy to discuss this and welcome your call to see if we are a good fit to work together.

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