As restrictions loosen and things open up, so do apartments and houses

Say farewell to a convoluted and ever-evolving set of rules designed to ensure the health and safety of landlords and prospective tenants while still allowing essential business to take place.

Throughout the pandemic, there was a lot of fanfare about virtual tours and showings, and some impressive tools are able to serve up a 3-D, immersive experience. While the technology is flashy, we found that virtual tours were largely a failed concept. Apartment shoppers needed to look, touch, and feel their new home.


Open houses are open for traffic

With a flurry of real estate activity in the Bay Area, one event that has been sorely missed by Realtors and buyers is the open house. Agents can put signs in the ground again.

Our community can breathe a sigh of relief - perhaps unobstructed by masks - that we can get back to the business of filling vacancies and showing houses.

Of course, many Realtors in our community will balk at open houses because they attract unqualified buyers and the market is so flaming hot now with high demand, bottom barrel inventory, and low interest rates, it could be argued that more foot traffic will have no impact - houses are already selling in record time. Many sellers and their agents can attest, in fact, that the COVID-mandated scheduling of showings was welcome because it separated the “serious from the curious.”

Others say that open houses will contribute to the buying frenzy and eliminate the need to coordinate schedules and make appointments to see properties.

No matter whether or not you believe in the value of open houses, it is good to just have them back and return to a semi-state of normalcy.

We hasten to say that we are not out of the woods yet and that certain protocols must still be followed with open houses. Fortunately, our friends at the California Association of Realtors have put together easily digestible guidance. Download their one-page “cheat sheet” here »


End of the rainbow

Although the confusing color-coded systems from around California have retired, local governments may elect to enact their own restrictions. We think that, at this juncture, municipalities will be in lockstep with state guidelines. Of course, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that guidance could change, so please stay informed.


You still are the king of your castle

Finally, we want to say a few words to wary sellers, landlords, and property managers who remain concerned about contagion. There is nothing prohibiting you from establishing your own rules as to who can be admitted to the property.

Even if there is no government edict that requires masks to be worn, you can make this a prerequisite to enter the premises for a showing. You can also require prospective buyers and tenants to be vaccinated or test negative on a COVID test.

The relaxed rules are one step in what will surely be a long journey to getting back to business as we once knew it as, or as close as we can get to it.