We are in this together!
New Procedures and Protocols for Your Health and Safety
Open Houses - Public open houses are canceled starting 3/23/2020, and moving forward until further notice. In lieu of typical open houses, we will be hosting Facebook Live tours of our listings where viewers can ask questions and interact with us to have a more personalized view of the home.
Showings - Showings will be allowed as an important and necessary function of the housing industry in the St. Louis Bi-State Region. However, buyers will be restricted to no overlapping showings, will be asked to refrain from entering the property if they are not a serious buyer planning to act in the next few months, if they are feeling ill or showing any symptoms of COVID-19, or have recently traveled to areas affected by COVID-19. During showings all doors should be left ajar and buyers will be asked to refrain from touching door knobs, light switches, countertops, drawers, etc. They, and their agent, will be asked to leave the lights as they are found, not to use toilets, and sanitize hands before and after touring. Virtual showings, either performed by us or a buyer's agent will be encouraged over in-person showings if there is any concern or need on seller or buyers part. Buyers will be limited to a single showing per day instead of multiple showings in one outing to limit exposure and protect the health of both buyer and seller.
Listing/Seller Consultations - Video consultations are recommended when at all possible, but in-person consultations are still available. Our industry leading marketing operations are still working as usual, and with so many people at home and looking for interesting information or entertainment our ads and social media content are receiving greater engagement than ever before.
Closing Process - Lenders, title companies, appraisers, surveyors, and contractors are still operating. Though lead times have increased, safety precautions are being taken, and patience must be offered on all sides, the transactional elements of buying and selling are proceeding in these challenging times.
Guidance from the St. Louis Association of Realtors
On Saturday, March 21, St. Louis County Executive Sam Page and City of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson announced mandatory stay-at-home orders, effective Monday, March 23, 2020 through April 22, 2020. While neither order provides an exhaustive list of all businesses or business activities that could be considered “Essential”, further administrative guidance from St. Louis City and St. Louis County has attempted to provide definitions for “Essential Businesses” by identifying broad industry categories such as “Construction Services”, “Heath Care Operations”, or “Professional Services” as business activities that are allowed to continue under certain limiting circumstances.
Real estate professionals should feel comfortable continuing their operations as long as they adhere to the social distancing requirements and other applicable mandates in the order. It is clear that real estate professionals service the community and their clients by virtue of their state-regulated license, which imposes both ethical and fiduciary responsibilities upon the professionals.
As the St. Louis County Order states in Section 4(C)(1), “Essential Businesses may continue necessary activities so long as they comply, to the maximum extent possible, with Social Distancing Requirements for both employees and members of the public.” Below is a complete list of St. Louis County’s Social Distancing Requirements as set forth in Section III(U):
maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals;
washing hands with soap and water for at least twenty seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer with more than sixty percent alcohol;
covering coughs or sneezes with something other than hands;
regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands.
All real estate professionals should consider the ways in which their business practices can be altered to comply with the above guidelines. For example, there may be opportunities for individuals to work from home and utilize virtual meetings. Real estate professionals should also consider showing property to buyers one-on-one (or event virtual showings), providing (and using themselves) ample hand sanitizer and disposable vinyl gloves and possibly masks when conducing in-person meetings or showings. Real estate professionals should consider alternative ways to conduct open houses that minimize the risk of spreading the virus, such as “by appointment only” or even virtual open houses. If open houses are to be conducted in person pursuant to the request of a client, obtain clear (and preferably written) approval of the client and take additional measures such as handing out hand sanitizer, gloves, disinfectant wipes, and masks. Sterilize all writing utensils used to sign in and out of the open house. Open as many doors as possible using gloves or some other disinfectant prior to the open house, so that perspective buyers and their agents touch as little as possible while viewing the home.
Real estate professionals, and their clients, should feel comfortable traveling as part of their Essential Business, as service providers (agents) and purchasers of services (clients). St. Louis County Order Section IV(D)(3) also allows travel into or out of the County to perform work as part of an Essential Business. It also specifically allows travel home from outside of St. Louis County, travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the County, and travel to an Essential Business to purchase goods or services from the Essential Business (Section III(J)(3)). St. Louis City, on the other hand, is vague as it pertains to travel, only explicitly allowing individuals to go to work for an essential business, not necessarily to procure goods or services from such essential business.
~ St. Louis REALTORS®