“The Home Showing Honor System”

COVID-19:¬†Due to nationwide concerns about COVID-19 and as a courtesy to home sellers, please do not schedule showings if the buyer’s agent or buyer exhibits cold/flu-like symptoms or meets any of the criteria for self-quarantine mandated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By proceeding with scheduling a showing, you are acknowledging this requirement and agreeing you are not aware of any issues of this nature.

–ShowingSolutions’ message to Buyers’ Agents when they request a showing on Northstar MLS.

[Note to Readers: The views expressed here are solely those of Ross Kaplan, and do not represent Edina Realty, Berkshire Hathaway, or any other entity referenced. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.]

What is the latest in a string of surreal, pandemic-related real estate developments?

The notice (above) that Buyers’ agents in the Twin Cities now receive when they request a showing.

By proceeding, they agree that they’re not aware of any health-related issues that they or their client could introduce into the Seller’s home.

Call it, “The Home Showing Honor System.”

Questions, Questions

Is that implicit representation by the Buyer’s agent legally binding?

If a home seller becomes sick after a showing (or series of them), how can they prove who infected them?

What is their legal recourse?

Or, to turn the tables completely: what about a Buyer who was convinced they contracted Coronavirus while in the Seller’s home?

Finally, what if a sick Buyer doesn’t level with their agent prior to viewing a “For Sale” home — is the Realtor’s broker somehow liable?**

For now, no one knows the answers to those questions — or wants to . . .

**What’s called an “indemnity clause” could shift that risk back to the Buyer.

But, I wouldn’t want to be the Realtor who has to walk their prospective client through the relevant section of the Buyer Rep(resentation) agreement.

See also, “Real Estate Sales During a Pandemic: Hand Sanitizer, $75 Drone Shoots, and “Covid-19 Clauses”“; “The Corollary to Buying a Home in a Pandemic: Selling One“; “Buying a Home During a Pandemic”: The NYT Interviews 2 Minneapolis Couples“; and “Coronavirus and the Housing Market.”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.
2 Responses
  1. Jason Reber

    I’m a renter of a house that has recently been put on the market. I’ve received a request for a showing, but have decided to deny it during the pandemic for obvious reasons. My state has shuttered all restaurants and bars and encouraged social distancing. My landlord seems to understand my concern and haven’t received any push back yet. Do you think I’m within my rights as a renter to deny showings during this time?

Leave a Reply