Covid Compliant Home Tour

posted 9/16/2020*

A. MESSAGE FROM THE LEADERSHIP

To My Fellow Realtors,

In these difficult times of uncertainty and quickly changing rules, one of the key topics in our industry has been “What are we doing with open houses?”  With State and Local officials, Cal/OSHA, and the DRE all weighing in, this topic presents a myriad of legal and ethical issues and deeply impacts our clients.  It has also been a direct conversation piece in our Governor’s office where our designation as essential workers is ultimately decided.

As an Association, we are seeing many solutions, ranging from a disappointing “business as usual” to creative processes attempting to meet the spirit of our evolving regulations.  In an attempt to help our members continue to deliver services legally and ethically, the Association leadership dove deep into this subject and identified an acceptable solution to reference.  It is certainly not the only solution, but one worth considering as a “best practice”.  Keep in mind that jurisdictions outside of Placer County may have more stringent rules at a county or city level that invalidate part or all of this solution.  However, great consideration was given to viable and safe practices to assist our sellers with the marketing of their homes without placing an inordinate amount of risk on our clients, the public, or our agents.

As with many topics, sometimes starting with the right question makes the biggest difference.  Accordingly, perhaps the question “What’s up with Home Tours” will put you on a better path.  Read on to learn why and thank you for taking the time to be a true professional in our industry!

Ashley Haney
2020 PCAR President

B. ROADMAP TO A SAFE AND SUCCESSFUL PUBLIC HOME TOUR:

1. Marketing & Signage

  • Avoid use of the term “Open House”. This term can reasonably be assumed by the public to describe access on a drop-in, unregistered, and non-chaperoned basis and potentially lead to an ethics violation since legally none of those should be the case.
  • Home Tour” is a preferred general term due to its implications that the party will be hosted through the property and therefore also have to make arrangements or wait their turn.
  • All effort should be made to indicate that viewings or tours are by appointment. “Appointments available today” would not violate reasonable expectations by the public and street directional signs would signal to the public by their sheer presence that the appointment period was in progress.  “Covid compliant” is another great expectation-setting term.
  • Messaging should be consistent across all public platforms, including social media – not just public signage.
  • See “Signage Examples” section below

2. Event Setup

Use the following checklist to make sure you have all of the necessary components covered:

  • Table
  • Trash can with liner
  • Sanitizing wipes
  • Masks
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Pens with “clean” and “used” bins
  • PEAD forms
  • Pictogram (CAR form “PRE”)
  • Lights on
  • Interior doors open
  • Windows open when appropriate
  • Informational or directional signage
  • Colored tape to indicate 6 foot separations

3. Event Process

  • Either phone or text line to schedule or table OUTSIDE of home (home may not be entered without a signed PEAD form or equivalent)
  • 2-person event including “host” and “greeter”
  • Have a viewing cycle that does not exit finished guests past waiting guests (i.e. enter at front door and exit out back door and around side gate)

4. Hosting Agent

  • Locks front door upon entry to prevent unescorted guests
  • Leads/follows with sanitary wipes to touch all surfaces
  • Uses new wipe with each party
  • Sanitizes other surfaces as necessary
  • Ensures party remains together
  • Disposes of wipe in lined trash can
  • Ushers party out exit

5. Greeter

  • Sets appointment time
  • Fills out any documents
  • Covers Rules
  • Sends electronic documents and marketing
  • Ensures waiting parties are 6 feet apart
  • Can be an unlicensed assistant

C. HOW TO STAY CURRENT

Information Sources:
PCAR: Townhall & Point People
PCAR: Submit a Question

Links to rule sources:

CAR Open House Guidelines:  https://www.car.org/aboutus/mediacenter/news/covidopenhousefaq
Cal/Osha Real Estate Industry Guidance:  https://files.covid19.ca.gov/pdf/guidance-real-estate.pdf
DRE COVID Website:  https://www.dre.ca.gov/About/covid19_info.html
CAR COVID Website:  https://www.carcovidupdates.org/
DRE Guidelines for Unlicensed Assistants:  https://www.dre.ca.gov/files/pdf/guide_unlic_asst.pdf
CAR Guidelines for Unlicensed Assistants:  https://www.car.org/en/riskmanagement/qa/licensing-folder/unlicensed-assistants

D. SIGNAGE SAMPLES:

The first two red and blue background signs below are available for purchase and pickup at the PCAR Supply Center. The others are examples of appropriate signage that you can custom order from Paradise Signs.

 

E. UNLICENSED ASSISTANTS GUIDELINES

Unlicensed Assistants Dos and Don’ts

When utilizing the services of an unlicensed assistant, a broker (or a salesperson) should ensure that the
assistant’s activities never cross the line into what could be considered licensed activity. Common activities
that are acceptable and those to be avoided are as follows:

• Open Houses: With the principal’s consent, unlicensed assistants may assist licensees at an open
house intended for the public by placing signs, greeting the public, or handing out preprinted materials
prepared or reviewed by the licensee. Only a licensee may show or exhibit the property, discuss
terms and conditions of a possible sale, or engage in any other conduct which could be
considered solicitation with respect to the property.

• Comparative Market Analysis: Unlicensed assistants may prepare a comparative market analysis.
The comparative market analysis must be approved by and is for use with a client solely by the
licensee.

• Arranging Appointments: Unlicensed assistants may make or schedule appointments for licensees to
meet with a principal or party to the transaction, and as directed by the licensee may arrange for and
order reports and services from a third party in connection with a transaction (such as a pest control
inspection or a credit check and report).

• Access to Property: With the principal’s consent, unlicensed assistants may provide access to the
property for inspections or repairs. Information about the real property that is needed by the person
making the inspection or repair must be provided by the licensee, unless it comes from pre-printed
material prepared by the licensee.

• Preparation of Advertising for Review: Unlicensed assistants may prepare and design advertising
relating to a transaction if the advertising is reviewed and approved by the licensee prior to its
publication.

• Preparation of Documents for Review: Unlicensed assistants may prepare and complete documents
if the final documents will be reviewed or approved by the licensee before being delivered to a
principal or party to the transaction.

• Delivery & Signing Documents: Unlicensed assistants may deliver or pick up documents related to a
transaction (including obtaining signatures) if they do not discuss the content or significance of the
documents with a principal or party to the transaction.

• Document Review: Unlicensed assistants may review transaction documents for completeness or
compliance, if the final determination as to completeness or compliance is made by the licensee.

• Cold Contacting of Potential Prospects: Generally cold calls are intended to prospect for new
business. While an unlicensed assistant is not prohibited from making such calls, if the person
contacted indicates that they are interested in using the services of a broker, or wants more
information about what services a broker can provide, that person must be referred to a licensee for
further discussion. At no time may an unlicensed assistant attempt to induce the person being
called to use a broker’s services.

Copyright©, 2018 California Association of REALTORS®. May 8, 2018 (revised).

https://www.car.org/-/media/CAR/Documents/Transaction-Center/PDF/QUICK-GUIDES/Quick-Guide---Unlicensed-Assistants.pdf?la=en&hash=004BD1C25A61FAE7C5D935CBEFB952F63F5FBF42

F. WHERE TO PURCHASE SUPPLIES:

Signage:
PCAR
Paradise Signs

Hand Sanitizer, Wipes, Masks:
PCAR
Costco
Unsafe Products: https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-updates-hand-sanitizers-consumers-should-not-use

G. FAQ

  1. Can we hold a traditional open house? No, per the governor's shelter in place order and Cal/OSHA Guidelines.
  2. Who enforces open house violations? Cal/OSHA and any state or local regulations are handled by local law enforcement. Violations to the Code of Ethics are enforced by the local Association of REALTORS.
  3. Do the "Best Practices" listed here reflect all counties and markets? No, this guide was created for Placer County by PCAR Leadership. While it may apply to the majority of California counties, there are many that may have more restrictive rules and regulations. When conducting business in another county, always review local rules.
  4. When we have different rules at state and local levels, which do we follow? In most cases, the most restrictive set of rules apply.

Disclaimer

* Disclaimer: The information on this page is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.  The information and processes represented on this page are an attempt to help Agents and Brokers quickly identify an acceptable manner to deliver services in this unusual and unprecedented environment.  They do not represent the only acceptable way to conduct business and are not an attempt to set or constrain industry policy.  In a rapidly changing environment, the information on this page may become invalid without notice.  Agents should validate any and all information and processes through their Broker and appropriate legal counsel.