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‘It’s about time’ state allowed open houses, Realtor says

Updated October 1, 2020 - 11:49 am

Nevada Realtors can again tie balloons on “For Sale” signs to welcome potential homebuyers inside newly listed properties, and it’s a cause for celebration.

“Hallelujah, it’s about time,” Las Vegas Realtors President Tom Blanchard said.

Gov. Steve Sisolak eased his COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings this week, and the directive included allowing Realtors to once again host open houses.

The extra flexibility means brokers can reimplement an important selling tool while helping buyers find homes in a market with tight inventory.

Blanchard said the industry has found creative ways to cope with being unable to host open houses, such as virtual tours.

“I think that will still continue, but let’s also face the fact that when you’re out there trying to find a home to live in you want to feel the space,” he said. “You want to make sure that what you’ve seen on the computer screen is what you see when you’re in the living room. It just helps solidify that the property they’re looking at will become that person’s home.”

Welcome mat

It’s been more than five months since Realtors had restrictions placed on hosting open houses.

While they were deemed an essential service, brokers could only host one-on-one showings in vacant properties. Tenant-occupied properties were also not permitted, even if the landlord received permission from the tenant, according to guidance from the state Nevada Real Estate Division.

Janis Rounds of Coldwell Banker said she’s glad to resume business, but it was long overdue.

“I couldn’t understand why the governor waited so long when he was allowing estate sales,” she said. “To be honest, I’m still being very cautious. I’m a senior and I don’t want to get exposed … but I think this weekend there’s going to be a lot of open houses.”

Since tenant-occupied open houses can resume, Rounds also expects more homes owned by landlords and property managers to be on the market.

“With interest rates the way they are, the market has been on fire,” she said.

The number of available listings at the end of August declined 3.5 percent from July to 4,639 homes, according to a report from trade association Las Vegas Realtors. Meanwhile, the median sales price of previously owned single-family homes rose 1.5 percent in that same period to $335,000 and 9.8 percent year over year.

Blanchard said he expects to see an uptick in the number of available listings, but not enough to affect the median price range of homes.

“Our inventory is extremely tight, but I don’t see that influx of additional properties causing any issues with our values,” he said.

Contact Subrina Hudson at shudson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @SubrinaH on Twitter.

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