It’s not surprising that open houses are losing steam during a pandemic where contagiousness is the biggest concern. Redfin has crunched the numbers and they have found the following:
- July saw only 4% of listed houses holding open houses during their first week on the market in the West
- 9% of listed houses holding open houses during their first week on the market in the Midwest
- 12% for the same in the Northeast
- 7% in the South
Speaking on the issue, Florida Redfin agent, Brian Walsh, explained his own experience with open houses in a pandemic world, saying:
"Today, you walk in the door and you immediately have to sanitize your hands and sign a piece of paper saying you have no coronavirus symptoms and haven't traveled out of the country in the past two weeks. Only three parties are allowed in at a time, and there can't be more than two people in a party. There's usually an extra listing agent there to control the flow of people. Some sellers leave drawers, closets and cabinets half open so you can peek inside without touching."
Walsh said that reason open houses have started up in the Gulf coast city is that the market can’t keep up with the demand for listed houses.
Tampa’s market is on fire. Some sellers have said they don’t need to hold open houses because they’re getting inquiries on their listings, regardless.
Across the country, the numbers shift depending on the local government ordinances. In states like Washington and California, open houses are still not allowed and sellers have to come up with different ways to advertise their listings. In Seattle, showings are appointment only. There are a number of new apps out that are allowing agents to offer booking services to accommodate these types of tours. One such is ShowingTime.
Local agent Jessie Culbert Boucher said:
"It's kind of like making an online reservation for a restaurant, except you only get 15 minutes to see the home, and then the next party comes through. We're seeing lines out to the sidewalk for the really popular listings."
Redfin reported that 45% of homebuyers across the country made offers for homes without viewing them first. The market is seeing shifts in consumer behavior faster than ever before and it’s up to companies to continue running research and change to keep up.