But, are they 6 feet away??

How to Encourage Showings During a Pandemic

“The health and safety during the COVID 19 crisis is our top priority. We will not be allowing overlapping showings, and we have supplied sanitation wipes & had sanitizer that we ask you use when entering and exiting the home! As per our MLS, we will not be hosting open houses until the crisis is over. We do encourage showings though as the home is vacant and easy to show.”

–Excerpt, MLS “Agent Remarks” section of listing in Edina’s Country Club neighborhood.

[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.]

Assuming that the phrase, “showing a home during a pandemic,” isn’t automatically a deal breaker . . . exactly how does a listing agent (representing the Seller) encourage Buyers to view a “For Sale” home now?

The listing agent excerpted above is 3-for-3 on my recommended list of “To Do’s” — and one “Don’t”:

One. “Do” highlight that the home is vacant, if that’s the case.**

Two. “Do” reassure prospective Buyers and their agents that there will be no overlapping showings, public open houses, etc. per MLS policy now.

Three. “Do” communicate what the Seller’s cleaning procedures are, “pre” and “post” showing, and whatever related steps they expect the Buyer to take.

“Agent” vs. “Public” Remarks

Of course, there’s not just “what” to tell prospective Buyers, but “how” and “where.”

Which leads to the one “do not“: don’t announce to the world that the home is vacant, for security reasons.

Rather, use the “Agent Remarks” section on MLS to only let agents and prospective Buyers know.**

**Ideally, there’s no need to tell anyone that a “For Sale” home is vacant, at least prior to the Buyer’s agent needing the showing instructions.

But, giving skittish Buyers extra reassurance in today’s unprecedented housing market may be a trade-off that Sellers are willing to make . . .

See also, “Buyer’s Agent Showing Fatigue: Signs That You’ve Shown A LOT of Houses Recently“; “Showing Instructions: the Good, the Bad, and the (Very) Ugly“; and “Cumbersome Showing Instructions, Exhibit A”; “Coronavirus and the Housing Market“; and “Which Homes Can Be Shown & Bought Most Easily Now? VACANT Ones.”

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“; “Showing Instructions: “Dog Will be in Kennel, Friendly“; and “Showing Instructions, Buyers’ Agents & (Un)Locked Doors.”

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.

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