Vail Valley real estate brokers say new home showing rules are generating lots of interest
The rules limit who can be in a home, and mandate masks, gloves and post-showing wipedowns
The state’s new public health orders now allow real estate showings. Those new rules have generated a lot of calls and some confusion.
“I’m shocked at how many calls we’re getting,” Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate President John Pfeiffer said. But, he added, many callers aren’t hearing the answers they’d like.
Under the previous rules, in-person showings were only allowed for properties already under contract for sale. Pfeiffer said that old rule still applies to out-of-town buyers. Those who own property in Eagle County, even second homes, can look in person.
“If you’re in Denver and looking at a Slifer Smith & Frampton website, you can’t (come for an in-person showing),” Pfeiffer said. “I think a lot of people assumed brokers got carte blanche on showings, and that’s not the case.”
There are restrictions on the number of people allowed inside a home at any time. Only two people who are related, plus a broker, can take an in-person tour. If two business partners are looking at an investment property, a broker can take only one of those partners on a tour.
There’s some confusion
Pfeiffer said the new rules are leading to some frustration, particularly for possible out-of-town buyers.
“They’re saying, ‘But they’re allowing showings,’” Pfeiffer said of remote clients. “But people aren’t even supposed to come here.”
Laurie Slaughter is a longtime Gypsum-based broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties. Slaughter said she’s also been fielding a lot of calls, from both buyers and sellers.
“It seems like people are a little more comfortable with showings as long as we have precautions in place.”
Those precautions are extensive.
In addition to limits on the number of people allowed in a unit at one time, everyone in a showing party must wear face masks and gloves. Shoe covers are also encouraged, and brokers have to return to the unit to wipe down virtually every hard surface, from handrails to countertops to doorknobs.
Mike Budd of Berkshire Hathaway said the Vail Board of Realtors is now working to publish guidelines and requirements for all brokers. While protocols are in place at the bigger brokerages, Budd said perhaps half of the valley’s Realtors don’t work for the big companies. The Board of Realtors’ effort is an attempt to get everyone working consistently.
A virtual tour — either on a website or a personal tour via Skype, Zoom or Facetime — can give a prospective buyer a lot of information.
Pfeiffer said that the Realtor.com website even provides information on noise levels around and in a home.
Plenty of demand
But there’s plenty of demand for in-person property tours.
Budd said Thursday that he and an associate had given seven showings of one condo in Avon. The same has been true at units in Eagle Ranch.
Most of those showings have been for local buyers.
“It looks like the need segment of the industry is a little more active than the want segment,” Budd said.
But the “want” segment is starting to get more active, too.
Tye Stockton, a broker with the local branch of LIV Sotheby’s International Realty, said he’s been fielding a number of calls from prospective buyers. Many of those buyers have the means to purchase homes in the Vail Valley, and make those homes their permanent residences.
“The safe-haven notion is starting to ramp up,” Stockton said. “People are saying ‘I’ve got to get out of my metropolitan area.’” Some of those callers want to make a move as quickly as practical, Stockton added.
“I’m communicating with several buyers several times a day,” Stockton said.
Stockton said the people he’s talking to tend to be more interested in single-family homes than condos or townhomes.
Virtual tours are likely to become more effective, for both brokers and clients, Stockton said.
“I can go into a home, and I go stand in the shower and show people, ‘that’s how much head clearance I have,’” he said.
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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