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What about showings and open houses?

What about showings and open houses?

Published Thursday, April 9, 2020
Since Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb extended – and strengthened – the stay-at-home order for Hoosiers on Monday via Executive Order 20-18, many of you have asked, “What about showings and open houses?”
Good question.
The order is left open to interpretation for a reason, we think. One, it would be impossible to list each scenario in the professional services category (legal, accounting, insurance, and real estate). Two, but most importantly, we believe Governor Holcomb is doing his best to keep businesses open and people working. That’s why he’s issuing orders two weeks at a time while his team monitors the virus’ impact, trusting Hoosiers to do the right thing to help stop the spread.
We know clients are looking to you for help. We know your livelihood is at stake. We know you’re wanting direction.
First, let’s review the relevant language from the order (letter Q):
Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, and real estate services (including appraisal and title services) should be conducted virtually or by telephone whenever reasonably possible and any professional services requiring face-to-face encounters should be postponed unless the failure to meet in-person will have a significant adverse impact on the client’s financial or legal position.
Based on that language, our recommendations are as follows:
  • Check each business activity by the standard set forth above.
  • In-person showings and other face-to-face meetings should be very rare and only if not doing so will have a “significant adverse impact on the client’s financial or legal position.”
  • If an in-person showing is necessary, make sure the seller consents and the broker is willing.
  • Do not hold in-person open houses. Replace them with virtual tours.
Please remember, not every state’s governor saw to include real estate as an essential business or service. It’s a privilege to conduct real estate transactions in Indiana right now. Maintaining that privilege depends in part on the responsibility we show in exercising it. We trust the Holcomb administration to continue to strike the right balance between housing needs and public health.
 
Virtual Business Resources
The National Association of REALTORS® has compiled an excellent list of resources to help members conduct business safely and virtually. If you haven’t already, check it out. 
 
Coronavirus: A Guide for REALTORS®
There’s a lot to wade through, so we recommend you start with the “Transaction Guidance: Listed Properties” section. It gives you options for three-dimensional property scans, video tours, on-demand open houses, and more such as everyday tools FaceTime, Facebook Live, and Skype.

Also, your IAR membership includes zipForm® Mobile and Digital Ink® (electronic signatures). If you’re not yet taking advantage of those products, now is the time.