By Michele McCaskill
VP of Risk Management
As we emerge from quarantine and begin to work through the phases of reopening, Realtors® are reminded that COVID-19 has far from disappeared and that special precautions must still be taken when showing properties.
Virtual showings are still recommended and encouraged over in-person showings. However, if you do choose to conduct in-person showings during the reopening phase, consider the following:
Space Out Appointments
Listing agents should consider spacing showing appointments far enough apart so there is ample time for the cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, lockboxes and lockbox keys, light switches, and countertops. Listing agents may need to plan for additional trips to the property in between showings for this specific purpose.
Pay Attention to Special Instructions
Showing agents should pay special attention to any instructions provided by the listing agent with regards to safety measures to be taken during a showing. We do know that many listing agents are adding comments in Matrix and/or ShowingTime instructing showing agents and their clients to wear masks, gloves and booties during showings. Please comply with these requests.
Disable Overlapping Appointments
On March 25, 2020, ShowingTime updated all listings to “Exclusive appointment requests only” and made this the default setting to prevent overlapping appointments from being scheduled. Since then, it is possible that listing agents have changed their defaults to allow scheduling overlaps.
In order to ensure a limited number of people in a home at any given time, listing agents should seriously consider disabling the feature in ShowingTime that allows for overlapping appointments by selecting “Exclusive appointment requests only” for homes (not land).
In an article recently posted on how to handling overlapping appointments, we provided quick steps for conducting a successful and professional showing when more than one agent is present at the property. While we are now encouraging agents to reduce the number of people at a property by disabling the overlapping appointment feature, for those that may still encounter listings permitting multiple appointments, in addition to following CDC guidelines and the guidance above, please also follow these tips:
(1) Politely introduce yourself to any other agent who happens to be at the property and cordially and quickly discuss options for showing the home to multiple parties (see #4 below) maintaining acceptable social distances.
(2) If the property is already occupied by another agent showing the property, announce your arrival before entering the property. Be sure you are following any instructions provided by the listing agent, such as those asking for masks, gloves and booties to be worn and door knobs, keys and other high-touch surfaces to be disinfected.
(3) Regardless of whether the door to the property is unlocked/open, if there is an electronic box on the property, use your own electronic key to access the box. EVERY AGENT AT THE PROPERTY SHOULD BE RECORDED AS HAVING BEEN THERE. No agent should allow any other agent in the property without demanding the other agent record their entry.
(4) Have a brief discussion with any other agent already in the home regarding how to handle the showing. Here are some ideas:
- One party start outside while the other swiftly concludes the showing inside. Then switch.
- Parties can choose to go in different directions inside the house: one party views the second floor while the other views the first; one party goes to the left while the other heads right; etc. Remember to practice social distancing and keep the number of people in the home to a minimum.
- One party can simply wait outside for the other to complete their showing.
- Be Courteous: Remember, everyone is on a time-table. Be respectful of other people’s time and conduct your showing with everyone’s time in mind. Do not delay and waste excess time talking about the home inside while another agent and their clients are patiently waiting outside.