Since Premier Horgan’s announcement about BC’s reopening of Phase 2, which includes us in real estate, we are getting a lot of calls about agents resuming open houses.
I get two types of calls. One is from agents, and even a few from the public, who want to know if and how they can start holding opens again. This camp is ready to rock and roll, they just want to know what the rules are. The other calls I get, also from both members and the public, are very concerned as they see evidence of open houses being done and even more planned and advertised. This camp is not ready for open houses even with compliance to the health regulations that will still exist as the economy slowly opens back up.
What to do?
These calls are about industry regulation. Members and the public want to know what the rules are on open houses. Council and your Board are still recommending you do not hold open houses. Please do not forget that only a couple of years ago our profession lost the right to self-regulation. The last thing we want is for any of us to behave in a way that causes harm to anyone or to the reputation of REALTORS® in general. Concern for public safety should be a top priority for us all. Just because you can do open houses doesn’t mean you should. Here’s an article resourcing some great creative alternatives to live showings and open houses.
If you choose to take the risk of offering an open house, there are many things you need to be aware of and comply with.
All the current Health orders for social distancing and related protocols are in full effect and must be obeyed.
Here is a link to WorkSafeBC. They have some great information you need to read. An entire page devoted to real estate protocols. This is really important information you need to know.
Here’s a PDF version of those protocols for printing and sharing with clients or other members.
I also want to point you towards a very recent article from our CEO, Baldev Gill where he cautions you against open houses at this time.
I’d like to emphasize what Baldev said about leading by example. Doing open houses is a highly visible exercise and everyone is watching what everyone else is doing right now and everyone has a camera in their hands. Personally, I would not even consider holding open houses yet, especially with resale homes. It’s just too risky and this is a potential public relations nightmare for us as a profession.
Maybe there’s an argument for new/vacant properties but, vacant home or not, you’ll need to follow strict protocols and you need to be seen as following strict protocol. People need to see you enforcing social distancing, handing out gloves and masks, restricting access to a property to one party at a time etc. I believe there are members doing this right. Look around, learn from each other, share the resources you are creating and absolutely talk to your Broker before you do this.
Remember, as far as the current pandemic goes, this too shall pass. We won’t be in COVID-19 mode forever. But, in the meantime, please be careful out there. Protect yourself and be very careful to do everything you can to protect others. We have a responsibility as a professional to ensure we are doing all we can for our clients to not put anyone at risk and the steps we have taken to do so should be crystal clear. Let’s regulate our own behavior, use our own common sense, and take this opportunity to demonstrate public concern and personal responsibility.
Thanks for caring!
Source: FVREB Professional Standards