Survey indicates some don’t want to risk exposure with in-person open houses

Virus Makes Some Home Sellers Edgy

Consider the quandary: You’d like to sell your house, but you don’t want people coming in to view it.

The reason being, the coronavirus is too widespread to risk person-to-person contact. The National Association of Realtors estimates one in four sellers nationwide are changing how their home is viewed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a new survey. Changes include requiring potential buyers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer, asking them to remove their shoes or wear protective socks, and even cancelling open houses altogether.

The percentage of sellers adopting these and other changes climbed to 44 percent in Washington, one of the states hit hardest by the spread of the virus.

The National Association of Realtors surveyed members from March 9 to 10 asking how the coronavirus outbreak, including the significant declines in stock market values and mortgage interest rates, has impacted home buyer and seller interest and behavior. The survey was delivered to 70,036 residential members, including 7000 in California and Washington state.

Of those that responded, 37 percent said lower mortgage rates excited home buyers much more than the stock market correction, and 78 percent — almost eight out of 10 — said there has been no change in buyer interest due to the coronavirus. California and Washington cited the largest decreases in buyer interest – 21 percent and 19 percent, respectively. Eight-seven percent, or nearly nine in 10 members, said the coronavirus has not affected the number of homes on the market.

The National Association of Realtors is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.4 million members involved in all aspects of residential and commercial real estate industries.