California Real Estate Update – New Guidelines Loosen Restrictions

Drumroll, please……. open houses are once again permitted in California!

With vaccinations on the rise and the number of new Covid-19 cases on the decline, California recently loosened restrictions on many different industries, including the real estate industry. Below, we highlight and explore this recent development that puts the state’s real estate industry one step closer to business-as-usual!

On May 12, 2021, the California Association of Realtors (“CAR”), following the guidance of the California Department of Public Health, published new guidelines for the state’s real estate industry. Most noteworthy was news that open houses are permitted again, with some Covid-19 safety measures and protocols remaining in place. What this means for you, if you are currently looking to buy a home, is that you no longer need to have your agent present with you to tour a home. Instead, you can attend as many open houses as you desire and on dates and at times that are most convenient for you. Also, a shout out to those of you who may not be in the market to buy a home but are just real estate junkies like our team here at Esquire and looking forward to resuming your weekend open house hopping adventures – we see you and we celebrate with you!

For those of you who have been actively looking to buy a home in California this past year and have attended a showing (rather than just window-shopping), chances are that you have had to sign a Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration (“PEAD”) prior to the showing. While the new guidelines no longer require the execution of a PEAD prior to attending an open house, a new Property Sign In form (“PSI”) must be completed for each open house visit and aims to prevent those with Covid-19 symptoms, etc. from attending an open house while also informing all entrants of the applicable safety guidelines and social distancing rules that they must comply with while attending an open house. The PSI can also be completed on site right before entering an open house and is shorter than its former counterpart – a small, but much-welcomed improvement.  

While the updated guidelines apply to the California real estate industry, local governments may have more restrictive rules in place that should be reviewed and adhered to, as illustrated below:

Los Angeles County and Orange County

While open houses are permitted again in Los Angeles County and Orange County, social distancing is still required (6 foot distance between people from different parties) and sanitary guidelines must still be followed. Additionally, county restrictions on gathering sizes will apply based on the Covid-19 tier that the county is in. Both Los Angeles County and Orange County are currently in the yellow tier and, therefore, the number of people in an open house at any given time must not exceed 50. For more information about the new guidelines applying to the real estate industry and other industries in Los Angeles County and Orange County, see here and here.

San Diego County

As with Los Angeles County and Orange County, open houses are now permitted, social distancing between members of different households will still be required, and sanitary guidelines must be followed. However, unlike Los Angeles County and Orange County, San Diego County is currently in the orange tier and therefore the maximum permissible capacity inside of an open house is currently 25 people.

Well folks, I do not know about you, but this newest re-opening development has left our team hopeful for a slow, but eventual return to “normal.” Wishing you all a restful long weekend and happy open housing!

To learn more about the real estate market, or to specifically discuss the San Diego real estate market, please contact Paris M. Torkamani at ptorkamani@esquirereb.com or 949-413-6699. To learn more about the Los Angeles real estate market, please contact Amir Torkamani at atorkamani@esquirereb.com or 213-973-9439.