MINNEAPOLIS — The professional association for more than 20,000 realtors in Minnesota is asking them to temporarily stop holding open houses.
Minnesota Realtors published a release Monday, advising realtors to opt for virtual tours instead. Serious buyers would then set up a private showing before making an offer.
"It's like grocery stores ... You don't need to go walk around the grocery store, unless you need to buy something," said Chris Galler, CEO of Minnesota Realtors.
During showings, realtors are being advised to take precautions, like allowing only one person in the home at a time, and having listing agents or sellers leave lights on and closet doors open to limit the number of people touching switches and handles.
Social distancing efforts are also being made during closings. Galler mentioned sellers and buyers signing paperwork via video systems, like Skype or Zoom.
"I had a broker call me yesterday and say he did his first closing on a drive-by," Galler said. "They actually did it in a parking lot so there was distance and the buyers never had to leave their car."
Galler says with low interest rates and first-time home buyers, some homes are still selling fast and with multiple offers. However, he says there's been a noticeable change in the market over the last few weeks.
"We've still got listings. We've still got buyers. But it's not the hectic pace that it was before," he said. "There's been a slow down in the marketplace, for sure. People are hunkering down at this point in time, considering their options."
Galler says they're also concerned about what a potential shelter in place order in the state could do to home sales that are in transaction and supposed to close in a few weeks.
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The state of Minnesota has set up a hotline for general questions about coronavirus at 651-201-3920 or 1-800-657-3903, available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
More information on the coronavirus:
- Facts not fear: What the Midwest should know about coronavirus
- Current number of presumptive coronavirus cases in Minnesota and Wisconsin
- Coronavirus-related cancellations, postponements and impacts in the Twin Cities
- Here are the common symptoms of coronavirus
- What are the 'underlying conditions' that make coronavirus more serious?