Social Distancing & Real Estate Buyers
Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Sellers, Uncategorized

COVID-19 Pandemic: Rules that Buyers Should Expect when Looking at Homes

Despite the COVID-19 crisis, social distancing requirements, the Stay at Home order, and now the Safer at Home order; it is STILL a sellers market in the Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas in El Paso County. 

This is especially true for nice, well-kept, smaller homes that are appropriately priced. As strange as this may sound, the Colorado Springs area real estate market is arguably even better than it was this time last year even though we are in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

When looking at the March/April 2020 time period, which included the social distancing and Stay at Home orders, buyers had about 200 fewer homes to choose from compared to last year. Looking at the data, this translated to 1004 homes sales in April this year when as 1207 sold in April 2019. Yes, you read that correctly. A 1004 single family homes sold in the Colorado Springs area in April.

Thus, homes are selling. Homes are going under contract. Sales prices of homes in El Paso County, to include Colorado Springs, higher than they were last year. Homes are selling faster than they were this time last year. For complete information, please check out my April 2020 Colorado Springs home sales analysis.

Tips for Finding a Home in a Competitve Real Estate Market in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Some of these tips were applicable before the pandemic became an issue. Others tips relate to actions that are being taking to prevent the spread of the virus.

Buyer prospects need to be ready to purchase.

1. You, as a buyer, should be ready to prove that you will be able to pay for the house.

  • Cash buyers should be prepared to provide proof of funds.
  • Buyers that have been pre-approved with a local lender will be viewed more favorably than a buyer that has only been pre-qualified.
  • Seller’s and seller’s agents will almost always prefer a pre-approval letter or a pre-qualification letter from a local lender rather than some online, internet lender located in another state. (It really does help to have a lender that understands the area where a home is located.)

2. Be prepared to put in your highest and best offer within the required period of time. In April 2020, the median number of days that a home was on the market in the Colorado Springs area was 3 days. That means that in April, 502 homes that sold were on the market for three days or less.

It is common that the seller will show the house and accept offers for a certain amount of time. For example, a lot of sellers will plan on making the home available for buyers tours over the weekend. Interested buyers are expected to put in their offer by a certain time. The seller will then review the offers at the same time and select which one they want to work with.

3. If you are sick or have come into contact with someone that has COVID-19, you will not be able to tour homes in person. Stay at home. Take care of yourself. Please understand that when the time is right, you will be able to purchase a home.

4. Plan on making an appointment to see the home.

Similar to the past, buyers need to make an appointment with to see the house. As of May 3, 2020 – the governor in Colorado has said that open houses are still NOT allowed. Furthermore, you can not simply drive down the street, see a sign in the yard and expect to be able to tour the home. The amount of notice required varies.

4. Social distancing guidelines are still in effect in Colorado Springs and the surrounding El Paso County area.

With regards to looking at houses, this means that most sellers only want the real estate agent and two buyer prospects are able to go into a home at a time. They only want one set of buyers looking at a home at a time.

5. Plan to wear a mask when touring homes. It is also likely that you will be asked to wear gloves and booties when touring homes.

6. Expect that you will be discouraged from touching things. This may include door knobs and light switches.

7. If you are looking at multiple homes, you may need to allow a little bit more time for each showing because real estate agents are frequently being asked to sanitize things that were touched prior to leaving.

8. Don’t forget to try to enjoy your home search.

gloves and hand santizer

Examples of instructions for showing homes to buyers during Colorado’s “Safer At Home” period:

In Colorado,  real estate sales activities are considered essential services.  Colorado is currently in a “Safer at Home” phase. This link,  COVID19: Colorado.Gov Guidance for Real Estate: , has the most current guidance the state has put out for real estate activities.

Before a home is listed (put a house on the market), Realtor’s and the home’s owners will decide what showing instructions are needed to accommodate the seller’s schedules and concerns.

I pulled these examples directly from the Pikes Peak Association of Realtor’s MLS.  These examples are were for homes that were available for prospective buyers to look at as of Saturday, May 2, 2020.  

Real Examples from MLS:

————————————————————–

“Due to the COVID-19 crisis, sellers decided to pack up while showings in person were not available. House is vacant. Please bring your buyers, text me with any questions and remove your shoes to tour the home. All doors will be open to eliminate the need to touch handles. Agents, please sanitize all surfaces you touch before leaving. Only the agent and buyers permitted at this time.”

“Please wear masks, remove shoes or use covers, avoid touching surfaces if possible. No more than two clients with agent in the home at a time. ”

“Please have buyers preview virtual tour FIRST to insure sincere interest, and to avoid any unnecessary showings due to Covid-19”

“Showings with prequalified buyers only”

“Qualified buyers and Realtor preview the home only – no large groups.”

“Please sanitize hands or sanitize rubber gloves before touching anything in the home. If you are showing agent please spray areas touched with Disinfectant provided.”

“Please view photos & virtual tour prior to scheduling in person showings to limit in-person viewing to those who are seriously interested in compliance with “Safer at Home”. Pre-Approval letter required. Acceptance Deadline Noon on Monday… Agents are encouraged to bring/provide their own PPE as supply at the home could be limited. Masks MUST be worn & initial tour should be limited to the showing agent & those signing the contract. Please designate one person to open doors, turn on lights if necessary & we encourage & appreciate a wipe down before & after touching surfaces starting at the lockbox and front door in the spirit of keeping people safe! Remove shoes/wear provided booties and take them with you or dispose. Leave lights, blinds & interior doors as you found them”

“Due to Covid-19 please only one showing at a time. Showing agent please leave card and wipe down any surfaces that were touched during your showing.”

“No overlapping appointments.”

“Masks & gloves must be worn, not provided on-site, Buyer/Agent must supply. Only 2 Buyers in home w/agent. Agents, please wait your turn outside & do not enter while others are showing. Please touch as little as possible. Buyer’s agent to sanitize any areas touched by showing party to include door knobs & light switches. Do not sit on furniture or use bathrooms. Please bring your own sanitizing wipes as they are not provided on site. Please leave doors/lights as found. Do not enter any of the showing party has tested positive for COVID-19, have cough, shortness of breath, fever or if exposed to any confirmed case of the corona virus or traveled outside the US in the past 14 days. Licensed and insured agent must be present for the duration of all showings and inspections. Prequalification letter or proof of funds must accompany any submitted offers”

“Social Distancing regulations apply. Please wear masks and buyers agents to wipe down surfaces that have been touched upon leaving. No more than 3 people in the property at one time. If another showing is in progress, wait outside until it is finished.”

“This one could get busy, please be considerate to other agents. Please try to not contaminate anything. Use common sense during this highly contagious time. Thanks”

“During the COVID-19 crisis, private scheduled showings are allowed under the following guidelines: Practice safe distancing, no more than three (3) people present in home at any one time (2 buyers and their REALTOR). Sellers ask that you all wear masks, gloves and booties and do not touch anything in the home except door knobs. All lights will be turned on and we will turn the lights out once the showing is completed.”

“In Person Showings only with executed contract – until then virtual only. Showings only possible with executed contract (even after 4/27) due to sellers health.”

“Vacant. Home has been cleaned and sanitized for your protection. Please be respectful and try not to touch things if not needed. There are booties supplied but taking off shoes will work also. Thanks in advance

“If you or your clients have tested positive, have interacted with someone testing positive, and/or are showing any symptoms of Covid-19, you will not be allowed to show the home. Buyers agent and buyers must wear gloves and masks while in the home. Shoes must be removed and no items in the home will be touched or sat on i.e. furniture. Only the buyers (those signing the contract) are allowed to enter the home. Please maintain social distancing at all times and limit the showing to 15 minutes if possible. Agent will provide a basket inside the front door for anyone who needs a mask, gloves, wipes, sanitizer, trash bags, etc.”

“Vacant; easy to show. Please follow all Realtor Covid-19 protocol; including wearing masks during showings, no overlapping showings, disinfect keypads, etc”

“After 4/27, Prior to entering the property, any agent must review a 4-question Health Questionnaire on the door ( and in the supplemental remarks) with their Buyer(s) and the agent themselves. If the questionnaire discloses any health concerns defined by the CDC, the parties may NOT enter the property. No more than 3 people (1 Realtor & 2 Buyers only) allowed in the home at one time.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

To conclude

If you own a home in the Colorado Springs area this is a great time to sell despite the COVID-19 pandemic.   Realtor’s are implementing many measures to prevent the spread of disease during home showings.    If you are wanting to buy, you should not let fears of catching the virus while out looking at homes unless you belong to a high risk group.   Naturally, if you are in high risk group, the safest course of action is to stay home.

For more information about your risks  and/or COVID-19 updates in Colorado, please refer to the Colorado’s State website,  https://covid19.colorado.gov/.

You might also want to check out the Center For Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

Questions?

If you are thinking about selling your home in the Colorado Springs area, please do not hesitate to call or email  me if you have any questions.

Stay Safe.

Sincerely,

Sondra Meyer

Owner/Broker

Star View Real Estate

sondra@starviewre.com

719-761-6272

You may also like...

11 Comments

  1. Steve G says:

    I was looking for homes in Virginia and wondering about what COVID-19 precautions we should take.  While you were writing about homes in Colorado you have some excellent advice on COVID-19  precautions that would work anywhere there is a competitive market.  We see that many agents in our area are conducting virtual tours of homes.   This is great – it seems to help in narrowing down on the ones we would be really interested in seeing in person.  Do you see the use of virtual tours increasing even after COVID-19 runs its course?

    1. Sondra Meyer says:

      Steve, thank you for your comment.   Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic a lot of virtual tours were simply a slide show of the different photographs.    So, I think there is a chance that people will put more emphasis on creating true virtual tours.  

      Best wishes on your home search.  

  2. Kelly Smith says:

    This is an interesting article especially considering homes are still selling amidst a pandemic. My question is are the majority of the buyers investors or are they actually families looking for a house? I can understand that it is a seller’s market right now; but how soon will that switch with the possible economic downturn.  Thank you for your article. This is probably pretty close to what realtors are doing in the Phoenix area where I live. I hope you are able to continue in a profitable business in your area!

    1. Sondra Meyer says:

      Kelly, 

      It appears that families and individuals were purchasing most of the homes that sold in April in the Colorado Springs area.   

       At the moment, I am not too concerned about a major downturn in this area.   

      If restaurants and retail can’t get their employees back to work soon, the landlord’s are going to be feeling the pain first when their tenants can not pay.     Likewise, owners of vacation rental properties are going to feel major pain if people are not able to start traveling and staying in their houses.   The latter is probably already hurting.

      If either of these groups of people start deciding to sell their homes, it will  give home buyers more homes to choose from.   That might make prices more affordable for buyers. 

      I hope that the Phoenix area’s economy emerges from these challenging times with minimal problems.  

  3. Hamish58 says:

    Fascinating to see what a difference this pandemic means to everyday issue that we all take for granted given normal circumstances. Thanks also for providing advice and links to other areas that validate the information that you provide

    So you do say that is it a buyers market are you able to give an idea of the price drop by percentage that is being experience by sellers and can you say that it has anything to do with the pandemic or is it reflective of other factors as a well as that.

    Thanks

    hamish

    1. Sondra Meyer says:

      Hamish, in the Colorado Springs area we are in a seller’s market even with the pandemic.    Most home sellers are getting their asking price or slightly above.   Of course, these homes are fairly priced, they are in good condition.  They are also showing reasonably well. 

      I hope to publish a market update no later than tomorrow.    

  4. Philebur says:

    Hello there, thanks a lot for sharing this wonderful piece of information here with us. I actually do have a friend who is searching for a home to buy at the moment, i’ll have to share this with him so he can go through it as it would be of great use to him. Thanks once again for sharing 

    1. Sondra Meyer says:

      You are welcome.   Stay safe.  

  5. evans says:

    Admist the spread of the ravaging pandemic, it is good that it is still much of a sellers market in the Colorado Springs. If you are in high risk group, you should to stay home to be rest assured you will be safe

  6. Jomata says:

    Thank you so much for such a very informative post, i’d thought that due to the corona virus pandemic,  people won’t be buying homes, but I’m very pleased with the precautions you’ve outlined in purchasing a home, this really will help to curb the spread of the corona virus, i have a family in Colorado looking for a home to buy, I initially thought it was impossible til I saw tgis post now, I’m sharing it with them immediately. but also i’d like to know your take on the price of homes after the pandemic in Colorado?

    1. Thank you for sharing this with your family. Even though it sounds very unexpected, in the Colorado Springs area, home prices actually went up even more despite the pandemic, quarantines and social distancing rules. Unfortunately, part of the price increases may be the result of fewer homes being available for sale.

      Within the next day or so, I will be publishing an updated post that gives more details about the home prices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *