Open Houses Suspension

Effective immediately and until further notice, the scheduling of Open Houses in NorthstarMLS has been suspended. Also, any currently scheduled Open Houses in the NorthstarMLS system have been cancelled and removed from the MLS. This action will remove publication of Open House dates from IDX feeds and syndication to public-facing websites, as well.

This decision was unanimously approved by the NorthstarMLS Executive Committee of its Board of Directors in the interests of public safety during the emergency COVID-19 crisis. The health and well-being of the Realtors who rely on NorthstarMLS for the tools and data that enable your businesses is our paramount concern. Your families, colleagues and clients are all vulnerable and at risk during this uncertain time and we strongly support the best practices that state and federal authorities recommend; particularly, those concerned with social contagion.

This pandemic is at a critical phase and it is our responsibility to look after each other by being careful, considerate and by exercising every prudent precaution to protect our Realtor community and the public at large.

We'll keep you informed as new developments unfold. Thank you and stay well.

John Mosey, CEO

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5 Comments on “Open Houses Suspension

  1. Thank you for doing this while looking after my well being, which I didn’t know was your responsibility. I thought it was to put my real estate info on Northstarmls. And what business it of yours about my family. That’s my business. I am glad you strongly support the theory that we are heading off a cliff but your job is supposed to data entry and that’s it. I’ll use common sense like most normal people do and you should stay out of peoples business. Have a terrific day. I’m heading out to shop. Please forward to John… Tom Carr, Realtor, Mayor for 14 years, On the City Council, father, Grandfather.

  2. The Open House policy, as implemented, makes little or no sense. I represent the builders of NEW VACANT homes. There is no occupant in the home, who is going to catch the corona virus from someone visiting an open house; nor is the person visiting going to get the corona virus from an occupant that does not exist. At the one house I can easily meet people outside the home, maintain a “safe” distance, and ask them to wait if another group is inside the home. Before the Open House I can and do use wipes to sanitize all door handles, drawer pulls, and counter-tops — or other surfaces that people might touch. Finally if I hold an Open House on Saturdays, the Vacant home sits empty for 6 days before again being held open to the public on the following Saturday. Everything I have read indicates that the virus — if it had been present and survived the cleaning — most likely would not have survived for 6 days.

    This process is far less likely to spread the virus, than allowing agents to schedule showings of occupied homes, which is curently permitted. Because the home is occupied, the buyers agent will not have had an opportunity to sanitize the door handles, drawer pulls, and counter-tops. Because the home is occupied, one of the occupants could have the virus and the virus could be in the air or on surfaces and therefore expose those who are showed the home. Or in the alternative, the agents showing the home and the prospective buyers could bring the virus into the home, exposing the occupants Because the home is occupied, the people occupying the home will want to return to the home directly after the showing; instead of leaving the home empty for a sufficient time for any virus to have died.

    I think your policy of allowing agent to schedule showing of occupied homes is far more dangerous and far more likely to spread the virus than any open house held at a new vacant home. I think you should re-think this policy and allow agents to schedule and hold an open house of a NEW UNOCCUPIED HOME.

    • I agree with the above comment. However, the same would also apply to any unoccupied vacant home, not just new construction.

      The MLS is supposed to be a a collection of tools that could be used to help us. We pay to use those tools. One of the more commonly used tools just got removed from the toolbox.

  3. I feel that we desperately need to start allowing open houses at the sellers and agents discretion.
    The virtual open houses are not giving a fair or even decent representation of the homes and almost all agents are doing a very poor job of trying to execute them, as they are not trained as such, myself included. There are so many agents that are in desperate need of trying to pick up buyers that virtual opens don’t facilitate.
    Open houses can easily social distance well, as which rooms can be occupied by how many at one time and or number of guests based on the homes sq ft. In case the number of guests is too high at least in this weather they will be able to stand outside or in the garage and wait their turn. Also, it is unusual to have any open houses with a large number of people going through them all at the same time anyway!
    There are disinfectant wipes, gloves, masks and hand sanitizer which would go along with required protocol.
    No one is required to come to an open house so only if the buyer feels comfortable will they need to attend. We could even add a preface “Serious buyers only please” to ward off the board and nosy neighbors.
    Anyone that feels vulnerable will simply stay home.
    The homes and yards are starting to look their best and we are missing out on the best market of the year. It will be very difficult to get the business back if we don’t get back in business soon.

    • Thank you John for letting us know your concerns which we know are shared by others. Our Board (along with guidance from the Minnesota State Association) decided that scheduling individual showing appointments (and virtual open houses) would be preferable to holding traditional open houses, and we believe that contributed to the governor’s office allowing the business of real estate to remain open as an essential business. As the State’s shelter-in-place rules change and become less strict, options like you suggest will hopefully become more viable. Our Board will continue to monitor when scheduling in-person open houses in the MLS can be resumed, with or without restrictions/guidelines.

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