What You Need to Know About the New Rules for Safe Open Houses in Saskatchewan
by Kent Braaten
on Tuesday, May 26th, 2020 at 12:00pm.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Saskatchewan, one of the first steps taken in the real estate industry was to eliminate open houses throughout the province. After all, the whole idea was to bring groups of potential buyers together into one space! And with the world moving to contactless options wherever possible, we knew that we had to do our part to re-evaluate what our open houses look like in order to keep both our home buyers and sellers as safe as possible.
Open Houses in Saskatchewan During COVID-19
The Saskatchewan REALTORS® Association (SRA) announced this week that the ban on open houses in the province was being lifted. This doesn’t mean that it’s back to business as usual, though. Just as we have changed the way we work to offer safe real estate services during COVID-19, open houses have also been given a facelift so we can keep everyone as safe as possible in this season of social distancing.
Here’s what you can expect when visiting an open house in Saskatchewan in the coming weeks:
Open House Rules for Sellers
The first things home sellers are asked to do is to provide proper hand sanitizing equipment in the home, if possible. This could be either a bottle of hand sanitizer or a dedicated “wash station”, with water, soap, paper towels, and a garbage bin available for buyers to use before or upon entering the home. This gives you better reassurance that the proper hand washing has taken place to prevent as much bacteria from entering the home as possible.
Sellers are also asked to do a final sanitizing cleaning after the open house is complete. This includes washing down high-contact areas with an anti-bacterial cleaning solution—again, for your own peace of mind, as well as your safety!
Open House Rules for Buyers
Before entering the open house, buyers will be instructed to complete a disclosure survey that helps the REALTOR® to better screen individuals that may have come in contact with COVID-19. The date, time, and contact information of the buyers will also be asked, as well. This information will not be given out to any other party, but should anyone get sick, contact tracing will be a lot easier to do.
It Is important to note that while this form is optional, REALTORS® have been instructed to deny open house entry to anyone that refuses to complete it. So, if you have any questions or concerns about this form, please talk to your Saskatoon real estate agent before heading out to an open house to talk about your viewing options!
Once inside the open house, buyers will be asked not to touch any switches or handles in the home, including closets and cupboards. Should you wish to take a look at anything, the REALTOR® would be happy to help you. This helps to minimize contact throughout the house as much as possible.
Lastly, buyers are also asked to notify the open house REALTOR® if you become sick within two weeks of the open house. Of course, if you do become sick and suspect it might be the coronavirus, please start by calling the Health Line (811) first for detailed instructions on next steps.
Social Distancing Rules for Open Houses
In order to comply with the social distancing regulations in place here in Saskatchewan to prevent the spread of COVID-19, only two people at a time will be allowed into an open house. While that group is inside, a sign will be placed on the door, asking you to wait.
If you are coming alone and enter the open house with another individual that is not from the same household as you, please keep a distance of 6 feet between you whenever possible.
In the season of COVID-19, the way we do things has changed—including open houses. But, we are very excited to be able to start offering you the opportunity to view homes in person once again! (With new rules, of course…)
If you are selling your home and hosting an open house, or you are thinking of attending one as a potential buyer, please reach out to your REALTOR® with any questions or concerns you may have. And if you don’t yet have a local real estate agent, but still have some questions, contact me today—I’m happy to help!