Oregon homes on the market: Open houses are back with coronavirus safety

The coronavirus has altered almost every aspect of a real estate deal, from touring a property to signing the deed. Open houses, which are one of the best ways to interest potential buyers, were temporarily put on hold to reduce the spread of the deadly virus. They are slowly coming back.

Instead of casually stopping by a property with an open house sign, shoppers now narrow their criteria for a home and location by conducting their initial search online by viewing photos, video walk throughs and 3D tours produced by companies like Matterport.

When a qualified, serious buyer wants to actually walk inside, a real estate agent sets up a private showing. Owners leave, and face coverings, gloves and booties go on.

The no-touch viewing means the front door is open by a gloved agent who stands far away throughout the tour.

Prepping the house also means lights are turned on, blinds are up and cabinets and doors are open so strangers don’t have to touch switches, cords or knobs. Before and after, disinfecting wipes are used on surfaces.

Real estate agents are carefully holding open houses again after taking safety precautions set by local, state and federal associations such as pacing one or two people at a time, directing them to a hand washing station near the entrance and frequently sanitizing surfaces.

Last Sunday, Ryann Carroll of Portland Digs publicized the time in which one of her new listings, a split-level house built in 1964 in Portland’s in East Columbia neighborhood, would be open for viewing by the public.

She and another person from her agency made sure people adhered to distancing rules throughout the dwelling’s 3,522 square feet of living space. As one couple left a level of the house, someone else was allowed inside.

She explained to people dropping in that in addition to the four bedrooms and three bathrooms there was a second, self-contained living space with a separate entrance that could be used by an extended member of the family or rented out.

The 0.46-acre property at 650 N.E. South Shore Road is listed at $599,900.

Attendance was low but steady, she says, since more people have accepted the noninvasive practice of virtual tours and some buyers are still not comfortable attending an open house.

To publicize beyond an open house, she posts imagery on social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

She hasn’t yet found a buyer for the property, which has been on the market since July 23, but she did list a home in Damascus on Thursday and intended to hold an open house, but she quickly received an accepted offer and canceled the public event.

In this week’s real estate gallery, we look at Portland area homes with an open house scheduled for this weekend.

Open house

14255 S.W. 125th Ave. in Tigard is for sale at $1,150,000 by Jennifer Johnston of eXp Realty.eXp Realty

Open house 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Saturday: 14255 S.W. 125th Ave. in Tigard is…

Read MoreOregon homes on the market: Open houses are back with coronavirus safety

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