How to reopen the housing market safely

Real Estate

Selling homes was deemed an essential service in some places and as of late May, physical home tours are now allowed in all 50 states. Sellers should limit tours and require buyers to wear protective coverings; buyers should ask key questions about ventilation and take advantage of virtual tours.

Sellers can reduce the number of people coming into their homes by limiting tours to financially qualified buyers with mortgage pre-qualification letters in hand, the National Association of Realtors recommends. (However, take care to not run afoul of fair housing laws, which are meant to prevent discrimination.)

Require masks and provide shoe coverings. Turn on all the lights and open doors to limit touching surfaces.

Provide online resources such as floor plans, virtual tours and lots of photos. Technology company Matterport recently released an iPhone app to make your own 3D tours.

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