Open houses return to the Bay Area with restrictions

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Another sign things are getting back to normal, open houses are back!

If you’re in the market to buy a new home, you can now tour it without an appointment but it’s not going to be exactly the way it used to be.

Realtors have used open houses to sell homes for decades — That stopped when the pandemic hit but the California Department of Health has announced they can start up again with restrictions.

“I think it will give more buyers a chance to see a home before it’s off the market,” realtor Tracy Nelson said. 

Tracy Nelson has been selling homes in the East Bay for years using open houses to connect with potential buyers and sell her client’s homes.

During the pandemic, she had to get creative, unable to host an open house for more than a year.

“I think really it was prequalifying, pre-approving, and setting those appointments with very serious buyers who were ready, and this hot market really helped as well,” Nelson said.

The California Department of Public Health announced last week that in-person showings of properties, like open houses, can start back up again.

Showings must follow proper protocols:

  • People who feel sick or have COVID-19 symptoms may not participate
  • Physical distancing must be maintained
  • Hand sanitizer should be made available
  • Face coverings are required

“Even though open houses are possible it is certainly not business as usual there are still some very important procedures they are going to have to follow in order to tour an open home that is going to keep them safe it’s going to keep the agent safe and it’s going to keep the home seller safe as well,” David Stark, with Bay East Association of Realtors, said.

With a high demand for homes in the Bay Area and low inventory, Nelson says open houses can only help.

“I feel like a lot more buyers will have the opportunity by being able to drive around and be able to go into open houses and that way more people aren’t losing out on placing an offer,” Nelson said. 

Nelson says she’ll host open houses as long as her clients are comfortable with the idea.

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