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The PropertyNow Blog

Open House During Pandemic – How to Manage It

a cartoon of a man using a giant umbrella as a shield against viruses

illustration of a man holding a giant umbrella protecting him against viruses

Not sure how to manage your private inspection or open house during a pandemic? We’ve got all the answers for you. 

 

We’ve been inundated with enquiries about what to do when it comes to open homes during Coronavirus.

These 9 essential practices will ensure you comply with current health regulations while giving yourself, your family and those interested in your property greater protection.

1. Group Viewings

Group viewing restrictions have been eased in all states. Please check your state guidelines when holding an Open House. 

  • Victoria – Open Houses are permitted with a 1 person per 2 square metre rule. Record contact details of attendees. Everyone must carry a mask on them.
  • New South Wales – Open Houses are permitted with a 1 person per 2 square metre rule. Record contact details of attendees. Everyone must have a mask with them. 
  • Western Australia – Open Houses are permitted with a 1 person per 2 square metre rule. Record contact details of attendees. Everyone must have a mask with them. 
  • South Australia – Open Houses are permitted with a 1 person per 2 square metre rule. Record contact details of attendees. Everyone must have a mask with them
  • Northern Territory – There is no limit to the number of people who can attend an Open House. However, gatherings of 100 to 500 people in the Territory require a COVID-19 safety checklist.
  • Tasmania – Open Houses are permitted with a 1 person per 2 square metre rule. Contact details of attendees must be recorded. 
  • Queensland – Open Houses are permitted with a 1 person per 2 square metre rule. Record contact details of attendees. Everyone must have a mask with them
  • Australian Capital Territory – Up to 25 people are allowed to attend an open home. If there are more than 25 attendees then the 1 person per 2 square metre rule must be introduced. 

2. Offer digital inspections

As people become increasingly nervous about face-to-face contact (and to protect the spread of COVID-19), realestate.com.au has created an alternative to routine inspections during the Coronavirus called Digital Inspections. Simply film your property, highlighting its key features. Then, have your property video displayed within the inspections section of your rental or sales listing so interested buyers or tenants can see it without having to inspect in person.

See our tips on how to create a real estate video to showcase your property’s best features.

We also offer 3D virtual tours as one of our advertising package add-on features. It’s a great option if you’re uncomfortable filming your own video tour, this could be a great option for you. It does require a professional photographer to enter and film your home, but the outcome in terms of quality will be superior to a self-made video tour.

3. Use FaceTime for viewings

You can use FaceTime to showcase your home to interested buyers or renters before they see it in person. This way, you’ll be able to pre-screen their health, while knowing they’re serious about your property.

FaceTime also offers the flexibility to discuss your property’s features as people view it – they may even see enough to decide while still at home.

4. Limit private inspection viewing numbers

While a virtual viewing will create interest, many buyers or renters will want to see your property in person before committing. With COVID-19 spreading so quickly, there’s no doubt private inspections are the most responsible option. However, it’s still important you limit the number of people attending a private inspection. One way to do this is to implement a one-family-member-only rule for private appointments. If that family member likes what they see, they can send other family members to a second viewing.

5. Screen buyers and tenants

Before agreeing to meet with an interested buyer or tenant, ask them a few questions via phone or email to determine their risk factor for COVID-19:

  • Do they have a fever or flu-like symptoms?
  • Do they have any difficulty breathing?
  • Have they recently been overseas?
  • Have they been in contact with anyone diagnosed with Coronavirus?

You may also want to determine how serious they are about buying before agreeing to meet with them:

  • Do they have finance approved?
  • Have they sold their own property?
  • Are they looking to buy immediately?

If you’re concerned about their health risk or readiness to buy, it’s better to be over-cautious and refuse face-to-face contact. As symptoms can take several days to present themselves, your buyer or renter may not even be aware they’ve contracted the virus.

6. Be vigilant about germs

Across Australia, businesses and restaurants are protecting their staff and clientele with vigilant cleaning protocols. You can do the same when it comes to private inspections and viewings:

  • Have hand-wash facilities, hand-sanitiser or gloves handy at your entrance
  • Wipe down door handles and taps before and after viewings with an anti-bacterial cleaner
  • Promote healthy airflow within your home by opening windows, using air filters or turning on air conditioning

7. Put up signs promoting basic health practices

If you’re going to have random strangers in your home, you’ll want to remind them to use the recommended public health precautions:

  • Cough into a tissue, discard tissue in bin and wash hands for 20 seconds
  • Maintain a distance of 1 metre between yourself and another
  • Don’t touch anything but door handles and taps

8. Adopt the Coronavirus handshake

The good old traditional handshake has been replaced  across the globe with an elbow bump, thanks to Coronavirus. And for good reason – hand-to-hand contact spreads germs quickly.

While an elbow bump may not be appropriate in this instance, your viewers won’t be offended if you simply hold up your hand without touching them to greet them at your front door.

9. Lock up your valuables… including toilet paper

Believe it or not, some homeowners have encountered toilet paper thieves during inspections. Nobody could predict that toilet paper would become such a rare commodity that people will go to extreme measures to acquire it. It’s always been a good idea to put away watches, jewellery and valuables during inspections – now, it appears, that list extends to toilet paper, too.

It’s definitely been a steep learning curve learning how to hold open for inspections in the face of a global pandemic! But if you follow these steps to the letter, you should have no trouble managing potential buyers or tenants during the inspection process.

 

As always, stay safe! And if you need an extra helping hand, we’re here for you. To find out how PropertyNow can further help you to sell your house privately, click here.

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