On March 31, the Colorado Attorney General’s office issued a letter effectively banning real estate property showings in the state of Colorado amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, in the wake of a tenant being asked to leave their home by a Realtor who wanted to show the property to a prospective buyer.
As Colorado gradually begins to reopen its economy on Monday through its “safer-at-home” phase of the pandemic, allowing limited businesses like barbershops and veterinaries to reopen, one-on-one, in-person property showings of no more than three people will now be allowed in some southern parts of the state.
In El Paso, Pueblo and Douglas counties, which encompasses Colorado Springs — recently ranked as the hottest U.S. market by realtor.com — real estate agents will be allowed to conduct in-person showings. However, Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver and Jefferson counties extended stay-at-home orders last week, preventing agents in those counties from conducting in-person showings yet.
Sentiment among agents on the matter is mixed, with some ready to get back out in the field and others hesitant to do so.
“I’m erring on the side of caution, so I’m not doing it,” Kimberley Nicholas, Realtor and owner of Highland Properties in Castle Rock, told Inman. “The issue that [my husband and I] have, is that we don’t have PPE (personal protective equipment) … and we don’t feel like we can protect clients and ourselves.”
Nicholas said that among other agents in the area that she’s spoke with about the loosening of restrictions, opinions have been split.
“Most of them are 50/50 out of the ones I talked to,” Nicholas said. “Some of them were [showing homes] anyways. We’re allowed to as of today, but I’m not ready … I think a lot of the general public feel the same way I do.”
Kerry Taylor, an agent with Blue Picket Realty who serves Douglas and El Paso counties, as well as the Denver metro area, expressed her hopefulness with some qualifications.
“I am cautiously optimistic and still find that myself and buyers are more comfortable looking at vacant properties and new builds versus homes that people are currently occupying,” Taylor told Inman.
“I think [buyers are] looking to the agents to get a feel for what’s safe and appropriate,” Taylor added. “So, inventory is low and interest rates are low. Buyers are very interested, just a little awkward about how to proceed. So the need and desire is there, [there’s just] a little confusion on the best way to get to the finish line.”
Within her office, Taylor said agents are generally looking forward to showing again, but are concerned that the reckless actions of some agents in the state who never took the pandemic seriously could put everyone else at risk.
“[We’re] trying to peer pressure everyone into taking this very seriously,” Taylor said. “The majority of agents are very cautious and excited, but there are a handful that never thought this was serious, and those make us nervous.”
With different counties establishing their own mandates on whether to reopen some businesses or not, things will be a little more complicated in cities that straddle county lines, like Littleton, Colorado.
For more guidance, Colorado agents can refer to suggested guidelines in relation to the reopening of the economy from the Colorado Association of Realtors.