March 23, 2020

News Room

Minnesota Realtors® advises against open houses during the COVID-19 pandemic

Newly updated forms extend purchase agreement deadlines due to pandemic-related events
March 23, 2020

In an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, Minnesota Realtors® advises all Realtors® in the state to not hold open houses at this time.

“To support our government and health agencies in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, we encourage every association member to refrain from holding open houses during this global emergency,” said Minnesota Realtors® CEO Chris Galler. “We recommend leveraging virtual touring options as an alternative to open houses.”

NorthstarMLS has disabled the “open house” feature in its online home listing database. NorthstarMLS  is owned and operated by the Regional Multiple Listing Service of Minnesota, Inc. (RMLS), and serves the listing needs of more than 90 percent of Realtors® throughout the state. In addition, a number of large brokers across the state have suspended open houses, advising agents to find alternative methods.

Recommendations for Private Showings

There are many precautions Realtors® can take during private showings to keep buyers, sellers and Realtors safe, and virtual showings and tours are a great alternative to showing the features of a home. Many realtors are using virtual showings technology that can take the buyer on a virtual journey and confirm serious interest in a property before ever walking in the door in person. Others are providing detailed smart phone videos or using live video chats to walk buyers through a property.

 In addition, Realtors are taking many of the following precautions during in-person visits:

  • Allowing one person in the house at a time.
  • Listing agents and sellers leave lights on and closet doors open to limit touch.
  • Having buyers drive separately to houses.
  • Bringing hand sanitizer for use before entering and after leaving a house.
  • Asking clients to stay home if they don't feel or have had any known exposure.
  • Asking sellers for notification if someone in the house doesn't feel well. Houses can be placed TNAS (temporarily not available for showing).

New Form Can Extend Purchase Agreement Deadlines

To further help transactions during this time, Minnesota Realtors® released a new form called Addendum or Amendment to Purchase Agreement: Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19). This new form allows parties to voluntarily agree to extend the deadlines of the purchase agreement if pandemic-related events like illness or government shutdown make it impossible or impractical for either of the parties to perform under the original terms of the purchase agreement. This new form will assist in keeping transactions alive and facilitate new purchase agreements during the coronavirus pandemic.

“During this time, Realtors are making adjustments to keep the market moving and Minnesota Realtors is working to support them as things change day by day,” said Galler. “It's a very fluid situation, and our members want to continue helping their clients while taking measures to be safe. Realtors have always been stewards of the community, and right now they must do their part in our community to help avoid spread of COVID-19.”

About Minnesota Realtors®

Serving more than 21,000 real-estate professionals, Minnesota Realtors® (MNR) unites and empowers Realtors® throughout the state so they can thrive. Dedicated to helping Realtors® build their careers and grow their businesses, MNR provides a wide range of services and resources that include legal services, community education, government affairs, and code of ethics and standards of practice support. Founded in 1919, MNR is a non-profit organization. For more information, visit www.mnrealtor.com.