What Does King County’s Phase 1.5 Mean for Real Estate?

colorful face masks

flickr/Rain Rabbit

 

 

King County has progressed to Phase 1.5 of the Governor’s “Safe Start Proclamation”. How does that impact buyers and sellers as they search for homes or list their homes for sale?

 

 

 

  • Real estate firms may open their offices again. In compliance with State guidelines, staff, brokers and guests will be required to wear face masks when in the office. Common areas and conference space will have restricted access. The number of staff and brokers permitted to be in the office will need to follow State guidelines.
  • The most significant change is that now three people (vs. two) are permitted at a property for real estate activities. This permits a husband and wife or partners to view the property together along with their broker. A buyer may now attend an inspection along with the broker and inspector.
  • Sign installation companies are again permitted to install/remove real estate signs.

As we begin to move about more freely, an abundance of caution will continue in an effort to keep everyone healthy. Showing homes will continue to be by appointment only with sufficient time between appointments. Buyers and brokers will be required to wear face masks while inside a home and observe all health protocols required by the State along with any additional guidelines requested by the homeowner. Public open houses are still prohibited. Brokers, in an effort to maintain social distancing guidelines, will not transport clients in their car but continue to meet them at properties.

These guidelines are in place to continue to keep everyone safe and healthy as we begin to resume our normal lives. Brokers have become more comfortable working within these guidelines and assuring buyers and sellers that they can safely search for or sell their homes. This is the new normal and we aren’t likely to see the “old normal” for a while.

 

Posted on June 10, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, real estate, selling a home | Tagged , , , , , ,

Will Open Houses Become a Thing of the Past?

Earlier this month, as concern regarding the coronavirus grew, my company, Windermere Real Estate, followed by the NWMLS a few days later, made the decision to suspend all open houses in an effort to protect the health of buyers, sellers and brokers.

There will be little real estate business transacted during the State of Washington’s mandated “shelter-at-home” period. Escrow and title companies and lenders will continue to work, as much as legally permitted, to be sure sellers and buyers involved in transactions already under contract will close on time.

Even before the mandated “shelter-at-home”, many sellers requested no open houses and buyer traffic dropped significantly at homes (mostly vacant) where open houses were scheduled. What about open houses in the future? While I always include open houses in my marketing plan, at the seller’s option, it is one of the marketing activities that delivers the least return to, and honestly, most inconvenience to sellers. The majority of my real estate business focuses on condominiums, and its not unusual to find open houses restricted or prohibited by the HOA. Homeowners who purchase in a secure building do so because they want to live in a community offering safety and where public access is limited to owner controlled, owner invited guests. A public open house that allows dozens of strangers to access a building is an intrusion on the privacy and security of everyone who lives in the community.

With the advancement of technology, professional and drone photography, 3-D and 360 degree virtual tours, buyers can virtually walk through a property before scheduling a private appointment with their broker to see the home. Going forward we may see fewer open houses, especially in secure residential buildings. Open houses create a logistical challenge for the hosting broker, sellers, buyers and the concierge staff, and are an intrusion to the privacy of all homeowners in the building.

 

 

 

Posted on March 27, 2020 at 9:00 AM
Robin Myers | Category: buying a home, condominium speciaist, home safety, open house, real estate, selling a home, Windermere | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Open House Etiquette

With real estate market activity picking up there will be more open houses to visit in the coming weeks. Are there rules of etiquette when visiting an open house? Common sense and courtesy should prevail, but it can be surprising what visitors think is acceptable when walking through someone else’s home.

So what is OK, and what isn’t when visiting an open house?

 

 

 

  • If requested, remove your shoes or slip on shoe covers.
  • It’s OK to open closet and kitchen or bath cabinets or take a peek at attic storage, but it’s not OK to open dresser or desk drawers. That’s private personal space and what’s inside has nothing to do with the features of the home.
  • Do not use the bathroom  –  take care of that before you leave your house.
  • If lights are on, leave them on.
  • If you unlock/open a door, close and lock it.
  • Never bring food or drink into a home.
  • If you are visiting with your children keep an eye on them, or better yet, hold their hand while in the home.    DO NOT let them wander freely through the home, run through the house, play with toys that are not theirs or turn on TVs or video games.

There’s no need to rush through an open house, but lounging on the family room sofa for 45 minutes to chat isn’t acceptable – move that conversation out to your car or your broker’s car. Be courteous when the end of an open house is approaching. The owners have vacated their home for several hours and they’re ready to come home. If you need more time have your broker schedule an appointment to see the home again.

The Golden Rule applies  –  try to put yourself in the shoes of the homeowner (you may be selling your own home soon). Think about how you’d feel if strangers went through your dresser drawers, pulled toys out or misplaced a TV remote.

 

Posted on January 22, 2020 at 4:52 PM
Robin Myers | Category: condominiums, first time buyers, moving, open house, real estate | Tagged , , , , ,