As I write this, we are at the highest peak of infection and death since COVID 19 began to surge in the United States. We are seeing daily infection rates over 200,000, over 1200 daily fatalities and over 11.7 million total cases. Although California does not currently have a “Stay At Home” order in place, we may get to that point again. So how does this affect selling and buying in the age of COVID 19?
There is a California Association of Realtors disclosure that listing agents require buyers and buyers’ agents to sign prior to viewing their sellers’ property. It is also used for every entrant to the home (like home inspectors and appraisers). It outlines guidelines for both buyers and sellers to stay safe. Here are highlights from the Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration:
“Under Federal and State guidelines, activities required to facilitate a real estate transaction are considered essential activities. This designation does not make them free from COVID 19 risks. All persons must still practice “social distancing” and take all steps necessary to protect themselves and others. The seller is advised to clean and disinfect the property after each entry. They agree to give special attention to areas that are likely to be touched such as doorknobs, handles and countertops. But buyers are warned that there may be extenuating circumstances where the sellers are not able to do so”, for example when they are already moved out and the property is vacant.
Buyers are advised to follow State and Federal guidelines for safety when they enter the property which include wearing face masks, using hand sanitizer, foot coverings and latex gloves. I always bring gloves, masks, foot coverings and hand sanitizer for my buyers in case they don’t have the items. They generally have their mask already on, but lack the other protective gear. You are advised to throw out the protective items after each showing and starting with new gear at each home you view. You are not supposed to enter any property if you have been exposed to someone who is COVID positive within the past 14 days, have a fever or are displaying any other COVID symptoms. You are not supposed to gather in groups, which means no large contingent of buyers coming together to view properties. Keep the number to a minimum. Open houses are not recommended. When your buyers sign the disclosure, they are assuming the risks involved with visiting the property.
Staying safe when you are still inhabiting the property or come to view it are the utmost priority of the agents who represent both sellers and buyers. It may seem like the protective gear is over kill, but being an essential business brings with it an extra responsibility of safety and disclosure.
We will all do our part to provide the opportunity to sell and buy property with the highest care. If you have any questions or concerns, discuss them with your agent. And buyers make sure you read the Coronavirus Disclosure you are signing to understand the risks and the necessary precautions required to view properties. Let’s all stay safe and healthy during this crisis.