What to Know About Attending a Stage 3 Open House

What to Know About Attending a Stage 3 Open House

Thursday Aug 27th, 2020


If you get an open house invitation while looking for property to buy, do you know what you need to do to keep yourself and others safe? This article can help you prepare for attending open houses. 


Just recently last Aug 12, 2020, the government of Ontario has lifted all prohibition on all in-person open houses for all regions. This is part of the gradual Stage 3 reopening for economic recovery in the province. What can this mean for open houses? 

Realtors have to comply with guidelines from OREA to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in the open house and your cooperation would be a welcome help for the implementation of the new rules.

OREA (Ontario Real Estate Association) has released guidelines to realtors to follow for in-person open houses with their potential home buyers. This was based on the framework provided by the government of Ontario to protect everyone’s health and safety.

Realtors are encouraged to retain virtual and digital means of showing the property. This includes virtual tours, online meetings, and electronic signatures to facilitate the home selling and buying transactions. 


They are advised to discuss these alternatives with you and treat the open house as a last resort. Discuss these options with your realtor so they can suggest a safer way for you to view a property of interest.


Preferring limited attendance of parties - up to two persons at a time with the realtor as much as possible. Stage 3 limits indoor gathering of up to 50 people - but for open houses, this can still be a little too risky. Booking clients one household at a time is the most ideal. 


Be prompt when you show up on your scheduled open house. Do not be too early or too late as realtors are trying to accommodate other guests safely.


Protocols should be distributed prior to the open house either showing in signs in the property or sent via email to attendees. Marketing materials can be digital and distributed before and after the open house.


Do your part and know more about the property before actually going into the open house. Immerse on the provided information emailed to you by the realtor and make a decision based on the facts presented to you or your own research. 


Self-screening for COVID-19 should be heavily implemented - if any of the guests are not feeling well or have symptoms, they are not allowed to enter the home.


If you do not feel well or even have the suspicion that you have been exposed to a possible COVID-19 case, decline your open house invitation and consult with the proper channel to address your health concern first. 


Have clients sign waivers of being COVID-19 free and provide their contact information so they can be contacted. Explain that the information will only be used for contact tracing. 


Make sure to provide the correct information and read your waivers before signing to know where your information will end up. 


Pandemic countermeasures should be observed, wearing face masks, handwashing or hand sanitizing, and physical distancing is still mandatory.


Use the distributed PPE’s by the entrance to gear up before entering the house. Make sure to use the hand sanitizer at the entrance and exit ways before and after an open house or alternatively, you can use your own PPE and hand sanitizer.


Limiting the time of clients in the house to ensure everyone can participate in the open house hours, with sanitization implemented in between viewings. Homeowners are not present during the open house.


Commit to bringing only the decision-maker with you on open houses. Most realtors prohibit the use of washrooms during open house hours, so make sure you need to do what you need to do before going into the house. Prevent yourself from touching unnecessarily, or wear gloves.  


Direct traffic and mark 6 feet apart with markers and signage. 

If you have to wait, stay in your car instead of forming a line or queue. Follow the foot traffic signs to know the flow of the open house tour.  

Some realtors, like Umber Realty’s CEO Shaun Denis, have stated that open houses might just stay in the past. With more online and virtual tools available for homebuyers to use, the trend seems to be showing that more serious buyers review digital marketing materials before booking a private virtual tour. The restrictions back in April 2020 had minimized the quantity of interests but have refined quality interests. 

For now, realtors are adjusting their traditional means of promoting properties into the new normal, and watching the future of open house unfolds. And as the brave new world equips itself with virtual tools, you might want to look into these emerging resources at your disposal. You would need a realtor that knows the current safe and compliant way of doing open houses. Contact JoAnn Visaretis for assistance in selling your home or finding a property to purchase.


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