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Is listing your home for sale just putting yourself at increased risk of contracting COVID-19?
The short answer here is simply yes. If you have more people in your home, you simply are at a higher risk.
The better question is how can I protect myself in spite of me and/or my family being at a higher risk. There are many ways in which you can reduce your risk of exposure when allowing people in your home.
As a homeowner, you have every right to allow only certain people into your home. And as a seller, you can exercise that right. You will have to find the right balance for you as the homeowner. If you put too many restrictions, you may get fewer buyers through your home, and if you don’t put any restrictions, you may be putting yourself at unnecessary risk.
Many brokerages are using standard COVID-19 forms that asks five questions related to your travel, symptoms, COVID-19 testing and your associations. This form is designed to identify high-risk individuals who may be looking for homes and give homeowners more control over who enters their homes.
You may want to ensure as much as practical that the buyers entering your home are not only well-qualified financially but are good prospects as buyers for your particular property. I currently have one client who has a higher risk of complications due to pre-existing health conditions. In this case, we want to keep away “lookers” who are not a good fit for the property.
You as the seller can take additional measures that require that only certain buyers be allowed into your home. Perhaps it will be buyers who have viewed the virtual tour of your home and have already completed a drive-by. Perhaps they acknowledge known deficiencies in your home.
And this takes experience. Sometimes a drive-by can quickly rule out buyers who just don’t want to be backing onto a busy road or have a home with a small driveway or face west or any number of other reasons that can determined by an exterior visit. In this case, my seller has requested that all interested buyers first do a drive-by of the home.
You may require that the buyers do not touch anything in the home and only the decision makers are present. This would restrict a larger family from seeing the home together but allow for more control to reduce touching. You could leave all the lights on and all doors open. The realtor could carry sanitizing wipes if something needed to be opened for viewing that wasn’t open. This way only the realtor would be touching anything and it would be sanitized immediately.
You may even question if it is worth it to list when we are isolating and physical distancing. I believe the answer to that question would depend on your risk factors to the virus. Are you at increased risk due to age or underlying health issues? If so, you may want to delay listing or find other accommodations if you do list.
If you are not at increased risk, then listing with restrictions might be your best option. As of this writing, we are at about 41 per cent of sales volume for the four weeks of April compared to last year, so sales are happening. Furthermore, there are buyers who are waiting to buy and being able to be found virtually can be an advantage over those who are not.
Dennis Faulkner is a realtor with Re/Max Select. He can be contacted with all your real estate questions at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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