Private Showings for Display Homes During COVID: Tips for Success

Published November 11, 2020
Last updated July 8, 2022

There’s a lot of information circulating about how to handle in-person display home tours safely during the pandemic. If you’re worried about opening your models to the public there is a way to work around this that’s working for many homebuilders – private showings.

Almost 60% of homebuilders are currently holding private showings of their models, or plan to implement this strategy in the near future.

Here are some tips we gathered from known industry leaders regarding successful safety precautions and procedures, so you too can confidently and comfortably open your models for private tours:

Safety tips for private display home tours

Follow these industry tips to provide a safe experience for you, your team, and potential homebuyers during your private display home showings:

Before the showing

  1. Check state and local executive orders to confirm you can hold in-person tours. Regulations may change, so it’s a good idea to stay on top of them.
  1. Limit your in-person showings to only pre-qualified and serious buyers to reduce traffic.
  1. Set private showings by appointment only to ensure only a small number of people are in the property at any given time, and limit the attendees to essential parties only. No family or friends.
  1. Request the attendees to disclose if they have COVID-19 or are exhibiting any symptoms. Remember carriers can be asymptomatic, so also make it clear everyone must wear a mask or face covering of some sort once they arrive at the property.
  1. Before the showing begins, make sure doors, cabinets, and closets are already open, and lights are on, so minimal touching is needed by you or your team member giving the tour.

During the showing

  1. Once your buyers arrive, instruct them to keep their face coverings on during the entire tour, and to please refrain from touching any surfaces unless they need a handrail to safely use the stairs, and to not open or close any doors and cabinets, or use light switches.
  1. Avoid shaking hands with customers and maintain six feet of distance at all times.
  1. Offer hand sanitizer, have customers remove their shoes or wear protective booties over them – both for health reasons and to protect surfaces from dirt, marks, or scratches.
  1. As you perform the tour maintain social distancing guidelines even when outside the property. Standing at the doorway while buyers tour the inside of rooms will help, especially in small spaces like bathrooms.
  1. Be sure not to share pens, paper or other personal items during the showing.

After the showing

  1. Once the showing is over, bring the interested buyers outside (if weather permits), or to a well-ventilated location to discuss details, maintaining social distancing. You can also set up a follow-up phone call instead.
  1. Send any documents through email after you leave the property, instead of handing out paper documents.
  1. Thoroughly clean and sanitize any surfaces that were touched by any parties, especially railings, handles, and doorknobs.
  1. Keep a detailed log of who visited your display homes and when, with contact information. If COVID is detected amongst you or one of your team members you’ll need to notify anyone who may have come in contact with them.

Want zero contact?

If you’re not comfortable with you or your team touring display homes with potential buyers at this time, you can still offer self-guided tours and virtual tours.

You can outfit your display homes with technology that allows buyers to schedule private, self-guided tours and access the home with an app, like Opendoor. They can pick a day and time that works for them based on your model home’s availability, answer questions about their health, and receive an access code. Once their tour is over they simply leave and the door locks behind them. You’d then have a sales rep give them a call to go over questions and details.

If you can’t or don’t want your model homes opened to anyone, you can hold virtual open houses and private tours. Not much different than an in-person showing, you would have a team member meet with serious buyers on live video, giving them a first-person point of view tour.

Human interaction is just one piece of the customer satisfaction puzzle.