family at the park

7 Ways to Schedule Home Viewings When There’s Nowhere to Go

By Tanya Svoboda
February 2021

If you’re a homeowner who’s trying to sell their home during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, you’re in a tricky position. How can you make your home available for potential buyers to view when many states are still on stay at home orders and you have nowhere to go? Finding a place to escape to with so many restrictions is further complicated by remote work schedules, remote learning requirements, and budget concerns.

A study conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) showed the percentage of people buying a home sight unseen rose after the start of the pandemic. However, this bump in virtual home buying is small, jumping just two percentage points from three percent before March 2020, meaning most buyers are still relying on traditional in-person viewings to make their home-buying decisions.

Below, are seven ways to schedule home viewings when your usual escape options aren’t available to you.

1. Get Outside

An easy escape when you have potential buyers viewing your home is to head outside. You can set up at a local park (weather permitting) and access wi-fi by turning your smartphone into a hotspot. This way you can keep working and, if you have kids, they can keep learning.

This time outside can be used as a scheduled break from work or school. Studies have shown that spending even a little bit of time enjoying nature can boost your overall productivity. So, take a guilt-free break and recharge during your scheduled home viewing.

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2. Visit a Restaurant

Depending on where you live, it may be possible to stop into a restaurant to eat or work virtually while your home is being shown to potential buyers. Indoor and outdoor dining guidelines vary widely across the country so you’ll need to check with your local businesses to see what, if any, mandates are in place near you.

Restaurants are great for an occasional remote work or lunch option but visiting a restaurant every time you have a showing can get pricey.

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3. Stop by the Library

If your local library is allowing in-person visits you can pack up your work and kids and spend some quiet time working, learning, or reading. Check with your town’s library before you head out since some libraries have capacity limits or require you to sign up for a time slot before you come. You can schedule your library visit as soon as your REALTOR® has set up a home viewing.

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4. Get Your Errands Done

Make the most of your home viewing by using the time outside of your home as an opportunity to get your errands done. A typical home viewing gives you plenty of time to head to the grocery store, stop by the bank, or gas up the car. Don’t forget to pack your mask and something to keep the kids busy if they’re tagging along.

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5. Stay With Friends or Family

Moving takes a lot of coordination and planning – rarely can the whole venture be accomplished without help from your friends and family. If your family or friends live nearby and have the space to host you during a showing while still adhering to social distancing guidelines, this is a great option.

You may even be able to work remotely or bring your children during your visit.

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6. Book a Hotel Room

A great option, although not inexpensive, is to book a hotel room as an escape while your home is being shown to potential buyers during a weekend long open house. As with most public spaces, mandates and guidelines vary widely by state so check your local regulations before heading out.

Booking a hotel room is a relatively safe choice that affords you both privacy and comfort. Johns Hopkins Center for Health and Security’s senior scholar Amesh A. Adalja’s advice is to “limit your interactions with other people as much as possible.” He continues, “Once you check-in, don’t linger in the lobby or other common areas with hotel guests. Some other health experts recommend tips like opening the window of your hotel room when you arrive, if possible, and disinfecting high-touch surfaces.”

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7. Create a “Drive-In” Movie

If a last-minute showing pops up, or you’ve exhausted your other options, hop in your car, find a safe place to park, and stream a good movie. Streaming services make it easy to take your entertainment on the go. Pack some snacks and enjoy the show.

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When buyers are looking for their dream home, nothing helps them find the right fit like an in-person visit. Despite the rise in virtual showings and the uptick in sight-unseen purchases, in-person showings aren’t going away entirely.

With COVID-19 restrictions in place to some degree in most parts of the country, figuring out where to go during home viewings can be difficult. However, with a little planning, some creativity, and a modest budget you can get out so hopefully new homeowners can move in.


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