Following a busy weekend, agents nix open houses

Several residential real estate firms are canceling open houses amid concerns about coronavirus. (Courtesy Delroy Gill with LIV Sotheby’s International Realty)

Coming off a busy weekend, residential real estate agents are seeing fewer open houses as clients stay home amid concerns about coronavirus.

David Schlichter with Compass said last weekend was the busiest one his team has ever had, working with eight buyers and sellers, many of whom made offers.

As of Thursday, he said he was still getting calls from new buyers and sellers, but he’s also getting calls from some people wanting to hold off on buying or selling.

“There’s not one uniform way this is impacting people,” Schlichter said.

Starting this weekend, Schlichter and his team no longer will attend or host open houses, opting instead for one-on-one showings and 3D tours.

Trelora, a Denver-based flat fee brokerage, also is halting in-person open houses and replacing them with video tours. Redfin canceled all open houses Thursday and limited the number of people allowed at in-person tours. LIV Sotheby’s International Realty also is suspending open houses.

“With everything going on right now and the care of the community being the upmost of importance, I hope others will follow suit,” said Delroy Gill with LIV Sotheby’s.

According to data released Thursday from the National Association of Realtors, 48 percent of realtors this week said homebuyer interest has declined due to the coronavirus outbreak. Only 16 percent of realtors saw a decline last week.

Locally, realtors are taking note and extra precautions, but real estate transactions still are occurring, said Jill Schafer, a Kentwood broker who is chair of the Denver Metro Association of Realtors market trends committee. Schafer noted March kicks off what is traditionally a busy season for realtors.

“Like everyone else, we’re rolling with the punches,” she said. “ … I still have clients calling me; they’re still going online. They’re just not going out as much unless they are sure it’s something they want to see.”

While some brokerages still offer open houses, they are taking precautions.

Libby Levinson, a broker with Kentwood Real Estate Cherry Creek who also expects to see fewer open houses this weekend, said her brokerage is providing agents with booties, hand sanitizer and signs asking people to refrain from touching everything.

“We are going to see a shift in how we do business, but how much will likely depend on how long the coronavirus situation continues,” Schafer said.

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