In the not so distant past, Seattle open houses were packed with home buyers eagerly poking their heads in closets, perusing spec sheets, munching on snacks, and offering bids above asking price in this ultracompetitive market.
Then on Jan. 20, a Washington state resident became the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the U.S.—and slowly but surely, everything changed.
According to Seattle-based real estate agents, open houses are now significantly more guarded affairs, and some have been canceled outright. Attendance of the open houses that are still taking place has been noticeably lighter than it has been traditionally, and attendees seem to be less interactive—most are doing their best to keep their distance from one another, and don’t dare crack open a closet or touch a countertop without clenching an antiseptic wipe.
“We are seeing a lot more hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes at open houses,” says Wes Jones