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What's Happening in Manhattan Beach Real Estate?

May 03, 2020 08:43AM ● By Mb News Staff
The coronavirus shut-down orders have put a major damper on Manhattan Beach's active real estate market, with home sales nearly skidding to a halt in the last month.

A patchwork of local restrictions had added to the confusion of what is or isn't allowed. 

But with local rules becoming more uniform and less restrictive, buyers and sellers (and real-estate watchers) now have a better idea of what to expect, said Dave Fratello, broker at Edge Real Estate Agency and longtime author of Manhattan Beach Confidential.

Here's a quick rundown of current regulations, according to Fratello and MB Confidential:

Open Houses: Not currently allowed in California.

Showing Vacant Houses: OK, with guidelines. (1) Everyone has to sign a new COVID-19 disclosure, which warns of the risks, in advance, separately for each property. (2) Buyers seeing a house can be only up to two people who already live in the same household. (3) Everyone's got to be wearing masks and gloves, and buyers aren't supposed to touch anything.

Showing Owner-Occupied Houses: OK, with the same guidelines as vacant homes, plus sellers must leave. The seller is advised to take precautions before and after. Note: Technically, in-person showings are supposed to be a fallback when "a virtual viewing is not feasible."

Showing Non-Owner-Occupied or Tenant-Occupied Properties: Not allowed in the city of L.A. Owners cannot exercise lease clauses that would require tenants to leave to allow for showings. Countywide, this is a bit less clear, with guidance that, like owners, tenants "should leave" for showings. (What if they won't? Good question.)

'Virtual' Open Houses and 3D Tours: Technology-based solutions to the difficulty of showing homes have become widespread. Video tours are now vital. 3D tour technology has become de rigueur. Some agents try to make an "event" out of an virtual open house, hosting a live event and streaming it while walking around the house and touting its features.

MLS Rules Changes: The local MLS system blocked "open house" options, so that no one can promote a (prohibited) open house on the system. Then they bent a rule that normally restricts posting a URL in the listing description, so that now it is allowable for agents to promote virtual tours and virtual open houses right in the body of the listing. And restrictions on placing a property in a hidden "hold" status (not visible online, but still actively for sale) were relaxed so that properties could stay on hold longer.

"In just the last couple of weeks, by observation, local real estate is slowly opening up," said Fratello. "We're seeing more buyer interest and activity. Sellers are adjusting to the reality of showing and selling in this market. People are doing what needs to be done to go see homes or to allow buyers in. It seems like more new listings are going live."

MB Confidential's "Property Ticker" currently shows 95 properties in Manhattan Beach for sale.

For more details - and for regular Manhattan Beach real estate market updates - see MB Confidential or reach out to Dave Fratello.

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