Commercial and residential real estate is included in the list of essential services created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). There are varying opinions regarding this of course, and many real estate agents need to navigate past a number of obstacles as they’re facilitating transactions during this uncertain period.
During the early stages of the pandemic, rules were a lot stricter, and agents were only allowed to show homes only through virtual tours. Now that protocols and restrictions in many jurisdictions are eased, several cities in the Bay Area are now allowing in-person visits, provided certain rules are followed and all possible steps are taken to ensure the safety of the public.
In most situations, real estate agents today only schedule an in-person showing that adheres to physical distancing guidelines, and requires participants to sign disclosure and limitation to liability forms. Masks, gloves, shoe covers, and hand sanitizer are also provided before entering a property.
For home sellers, these extra steps not only keep everyone involved safer against the coronavirus, but they also help weed out non-serious buyers. Someone who’s ready to go through all the necessary steps and then schedule an in-person tour is likely someone who’s serious about buying a home.
If you’re planning to sell your home in San Francisco, here are some of the dos and don’ts of putting a home on the market during the pandemic.
Use of face coverings
The Guidance on the Use of Face Coverings issued by the California Department of Public Health requires all individuals to wear facial coverings whenever they’re in a public or workplace setting.
For complete information, including specific requirements and exemptions to this rule, you can take a look at the guidance here.
Maintain physical distancing
- Schedule an appointment or have a digital sign-in process available to limit the number of individuals in your property. In case a seller wants to participate in a property viewing, they must adhere to the same requirements regarding physical distancing, cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and ensure a safe environment for all individuals present.
- Make use of virtual tours, social media, and other digital platforms in lieu of open houses and onsite property showings whenever possible. In case these aren’t feasible, limit the number of attendees in the showing to at least one agent and two individuals belonging to the same household. Remember to maintain physical distance at all times.
Minimize contact with surfaces
- Any marketing materials must be delivered digitally. Do not provide any printed materials such as flyers, brochures, or other types of promotional materials.
- Individuals attending an in-person showing should refrain from touching doorknobs, gate latches, light switches, toilet handles, faucets, handles, window locks, and other similar high-touch surfaces.
- Provide easy access to all areas in the property by opening all doors/entryways prior to property showings to minimize visitors touching surfaces. Have a designated hand washing area and/or provide hand sanitizer for everyone who enters and exits the property.
Cleaning and disinfecting a property after a viewing
- Commonly used surfaces such as doorknobs, cabinet handles, light switches, etc. need to be cleaned and disinfected prior to and after every showing. If possible, avoid cleaning floors by sweeping, as this can potentially disperse any traces of the virus into the air. Use of a vacuum equipped with a High Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filter is highly recommended.
- Look for ways to have fresh air flowing inside your home by opening doors and windows and operating ventilation systems (if the current weather is ideal).
- Trap particles before they enter your home by placing doormats in high-traffic areas, and then vacuum them after every showing. Dirt particles can settle on bare floors and can easily float back into the air whenever there’s activity in the room. Doormats and/or rugs placed on entrances and throughout your interiors can act as filters and can effectively trap particles and prevent them from spreading.
- Ask your agent to adjust showing schedules to account for time needed for cleaning and disinfecting. If you’re currently occupying the property, make sure there’s enough time to clean and disinfect after you vacate the premises and before and after prospective buyers view the home.
- Disinfect all items that pass between persons, including keys, clipboards, cellphones, and pens after each use.
These are just some of the important things to keep in mind when putting a property on the market during this pandemic. To make the process more seamless, working with a real estate agent who can provide up-to-date information and assist you through the entire process is a must.
Want to work with the top realtor in San Francisco? Get in touch with Nina Hatvany and her team of experienced San Francisco realtors today by calling 415.710.6462 or by sending an email to team(at)teamhatvany(dotted)com