Realtors rejoice as ban on in-person home tours is lifted

Certain safety precautions are still advised while touring homes
Posted at 4:33 PM, May 07, 2020

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Realtors across the state are rejoicing Thursday as the ban on in-person home tours is lifted.

Governor Whitmer signed an executive order last Friday allowing real estate, construction, and other outdoor businesses to reopen.

“This is a great time for us to be able to service our buyers and sellers a little bit better, but we're still taking safety as our number one priority," said Tara Heerspink, a realtor and owner of Dwell Grand Rapids.

Because of the stay-at-home orders brought on by COVID-19, open houses, showings, and in-person meetings stopped at the end of March.

Starting Thursday May 7, realtors are allowed to conduct home showings in person while still taking some safety precautions.

“So we're following the rule.... keeping a six foot distance from our clients while we're out with them. We do have some protective gear that we are encouraging our clients to wear such as face masks, hand sanitizer we bring with us and our gloves," Heerspink said.

The lifting of restrictions is a relief for realtors like Tedros Fremichael, who works for Keller Williams Grand Rapids East.

“I’ve had a lot of people not list due to COVID-19, getting scared of catching it and spreading it, as well as buyers waiting to go out,” Fremichael said.

Fremichael says he expects to see a very active market in West Michigan in the coming months.

“We’ve got a few showings lined up today with clients to go check out some homes," Fremichael said. “With the spring here, this is the busiest time of the year for realtors and sellers and buyers... I do see an uptick of more buyers coming out and more listings coming onto the market this week.”

The lockdown also left those looking to sell in a difficult spot. Heerspink and her client, Ellie Ohm, have been watching the market closely, waiting for the right time to list her Grand Rapids home.

“Just because of how it has seemed to bounce back and forth between people listing and not listing, and I know that it's a sellers market, so I'd have no issues selling my home, but whether or not there will be inventory for me to move into is kind of what I’m watching,” Ohm said.

She says she hopes to list her home in the near future, optimistic that we will continue to see a healthy real estate market here in West Michigan.

“Despite the coronavirus, people need to move. And this has impacted a lot of home buyers, people who have nowhere to go. So this is good for them to be able to continue looking and get into a home and have a place to go," Heerspink said.