FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2020
Staten Island Real Estate Pros Await Phase-2 Return of In-Person Showings
Despite pending changes, virtual walkthroughs will continue to be encouraged
STATEN ISLAND, N..Y. – In the wake of New York City’s foray June 8 into the Phase-1 reopening, Staten Island’s real estate professionals eagerly await the arrival of Phase 2, which will signal the return of a former fixture in the home-selling process: The live, in-person showing.
During the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, the housing industry was among the hardest-hit commercial sectors in the United States, impacting Realtors like those on Staten Island. Despite New York state’s real estate brokerages being deemed from the onset as an essential business under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Covid-19 mandate, real estate brokers and their associated licensees were forbidden to have any in-person encounters with members of the public as part of their Realtor-related activities.
The sudden push toward social distancing and remote work prompted Island Realtors, as well as affiliated professionals with ties to the housing industry, to adjust their procedures and turn to digital technologies. Working virtually to fulfill the needs of home sellers and buyers, live walkthroughs were replaced with virtual showings. It was a major change for consumers and Realtors and a disruption to the transaction process, but industry experts believe these technologies will be critical to the real estate industry for the foreseeable future.
“Modern camera capabilities make virtual showings extremely useful, but few buyers have been willing to enter into purchase agreements without seeing the property in person,” said Sandy Krueger, CEO of the Staten Island Board of Realtors® (SIBOR). “The health and safety of all persons involved has been the driving force in the current procedures. They have worked well, but soon it will be time to address the pent-up demand that has been seen in many other markets that have opened up recently.”
KEEPING YOUR DISTANCE REIGNS
Upon the arrival of Phase 2, real estate professionals will be encouraged, but not required, to conduct property showings virtually, rather than in person, where possible. Whenever in-person contact occurs with a consumer, the broker or sales associate should be wearing an appropriate face covering and maintain social distancing.
According to SIBOR in-person showings may only be conducted in an unoccupied and vacant property – if there is an occupant, they must not be present, and the broker or sales associate must limit the number of individuals viewing the property.
Working in tandem with the guidance of New York’s Empire State Development Corporation and the New York State Department of Health, SIBOR) is providing brokers with guidance to properly educate all associated licensees and ensure proper health-safety measures are followed at every step of a real estate transaction – including those involving in-person interactions.
Additional Phase 2 guidelines reflect a variety of health-safety measures, such as:
- Licensees should schedule all showings in advance, whenever possible.
- Licensees and consumers must wear an appropriate face covering at all times.
- Gloves and shoe coverings can also be required by the owner or broker.
- Licensees should not dispose of PPE at the property being shown.
“Realtors understand the responsibility that comes with bringing people into the homes of others. State guidelines are comprehensive,” Krueger said.
CLEANING AND DISINFECTING
Further steps focusing on cleanliness and social distancing include such protocols as:
- Consumers should be instructed to only touch essential surfaces, such as the use of a handrail to go up or downstairs. Consumers should be instructed not to touch other areas or surfaces including cabinets, countertops, appliances, etc.
- Licensees are responsible for cleaning and disinfecting high touch surfaces such as doorknobs and handrails. As a best practice, licensees should disinfect every surface that was touched during a showing.
- Showing times should be staggered so as not to have the next scheduled buyer/tenant waiting outside for the current showing to end.
- As a best practice, only one party should be in the property at a time. If more than one party is inside the property at the same time, 6 feet of distance must be maintained at all times between individuals, and face coverings must be worn (face coverings are already mandatory).
- Licensees and buyers/tenants are encouraged not to bring young children or extraneous guests to property showings, when possible, or leave attended children outside.
- Licensees should screen each seller/buyer/landlord/tenant prior to a showing. Licensees should discuss the use of the screening questionnaire with the seller/landlord and whether the seller/landlord requires potential buyers/tenants to answer the questions before being permitted access to the property. SIBOR strongly recommends that such screening be done remotely (phone, email, etc.).
Additionally, a variety of questions must be asked of visitors to the property as part of the screening process; for example, have they:
- Knowingly been in close or proximate contact in the past 14 days with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19,
- Tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 14 days, or
- Experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days.
Sellers, lessors, buyers and lessees will also be asked to disclose if they become symptomatic and/or they test positive for COVID-19 within 48 hours of the last visit to their property.
About the Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR)
Established in 1915, the Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) is the largest professional association in Staten Island, N.Y.
SIBOR exists to enhance the ability and opportunity of its members to conduct their business successfully and ethically, and promote the preservation of the public’s right to own, transfer and use real property.
Comprised of more than 2,000 members, SIBOR serves real estate agents, brokers and affiliated professionals throughout the borough and surrounding areas.
SIBOR is the provider of the Staten Island Multiple Listing Service Inc. (SIMLS), which works as a clearinghouse through which more than 250 local real estate firms exchange information on properties they have listed for sale. Together, its members participate in over 5,000 real estate transactions every year.
All SIBOR Realtors belong to the New York State Association of REALTORS® (NYSAR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
SIBOR may be reached at 718-928-3220 and viewed online at SIBORREALTORS.com. SIBOR may also be visited on Facebook at Staten Island Board of Realtors, on Twitter via @SIBOR, and on Instagram at SIBOR REALTORS (siborrealtors).
Media Contact: Barton Horowitz