Every day you will hear people saying, “I can’t wait to go back to normal.” “Looks like we are headed back to a normal market.”

Merriam Webster defines normal as conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.

However, when folks use the word, normal, I love to quote Whoopie Goldberg. Whoopie once said that, “the only thing normal is a cycle on the washing machine.” As a realtor, I would say to Ms. Goldberg, “there never will be a normal anything when it comes to real estate.”

After 15 months, we all patiently waited for June 15, 2021, the reopening of the State of California. We all speculated what the reopening would look like. As real estate professionals, who as I have shared in previous articles, we have been fortunate to have our local, state, and national associations keep us abreast of updates and changes.

The most significant update related to this is being allowed to hold Open Houses. Only as recent as of May 13, 2021, were we able to hold Open Houses for our sellers. The protocol was strict whereby we were only allowed to have the home open for two hours. We then would need to have it wiped down and aired out for two hours if we wanted to schedule another two-hour time frame. Please be aware however that only a total of 10 visitors from a total of three families were allowed to attend. I pride myself as being a very detail-oriented individual. Just reviewing and reading this protocol was exhausting.

As of June 15, 2021, realtors are now allowed to do Open Houses based on pre-COVID-19 protocol. Let me share with you what this may look like.

Before COVID, realtors would place their sandwich board directional signs to the property, print brochures and/or flyers to be displayed at the property, greet guests who would be asked to sign our registry and serve refreshments. I am excited to share that if you choose to visit an upcoming Open House, you will hopefully see these “back to normal” items. There is a possibility that upon the request of a seller, whether vaccinated or not vaccinated, you will be asked to kindly put your mask on.

Please know that even though there are rules put forth by our governor, the county, when the open house is held, or the realtor’s broker of record, the seller has the final decision on what protocol we are to follow.

Realtors, you can imagine, have a long list of rules we need to follow and the endless legal documents that we need to review, understand, and share with our clients. As shared several times we are being directed by multiple sources and truly are doing the absolute best we can.

Bottom Line: We as real estate professionals only ask you to be kind, be patient and offer us grace. It is our fiduciary responsibility to have our client’s best interest at heart. If by chance you attend an Open House and are kindly requested to place a mask on whether vaccinated or not, please know that the directive has come down from a higher source. The realtor is not trying to be difficult or give you a hard time, we are just trying to sell the home to the best of our ability in an ever-changing environment.

• Donna A. Baker, CRS ABR SFR CDPE is the Broker-Owner of At Home Real Estate Group selling real estate for 21 years. Her memberships include National Association of Realtors, California Association of Realtors, Certified Residential Specialists, Central Valley Association of Realtors, Accredited Buyer's Representative, Certified Distressed Property Expert®, and Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource. In addition, Donna teaches monthly at the Central Valley Association of Realtors New Realtor Member Orientation and serves as the Chairman for the Tracy Real Estate Marketing Council and as a Board member for the McHenry House a local rehab shelter.

Donna has lived in Tracy since 1989 with her patient husband Tom of 32 years and has two awesome children, Trevor and Ally. Contact her at donna@donnabaker.com.

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