What's The Risk Of House Hunting?

In our series "What's the Risk?" experts weigh in on what risks different scenarios pose for transmitting COVID-19.
Posted at 4:30 PM, Jun 22, 2020

When it comes to getting sick with COVID-19, you might be thinking about this, and we have too. Dale Robinson asked: "We're considering moving, and I was just wondering, what would the possible health risks be for house hunting during this time?"

We asked the experts: Katie Cary, vice president of infection prevention for HCA Continental Division; Dr. Nipunie Rajapakse, a pediatric infectious diseases physician at the Mayo Clinic; and Dr. Irfan N. Hafiz, infectious disease physician and Northwest Region chief medical officer at Northwestern Medicine.

We asked the experts. Their take: Contracting COVID-19 from house-hunting is low-risk.

"Most of the time, when you are viewing a home, the homeowners are usually not there. So you're really not interacting with a lot of other people," Hafiz said.

"If someone in the household that you're visiting was sick, there certainly could be a virus around on the surfaces. But generally, they themselves are not home when you're going in to see the house. I think the risk is relatively low. Definitely, we would recommend not touching too many surfaces while you're in the house, if possible, and definitely washing your hands very well before and after your visit to help protect yourself, as well as to prevent you from infecting anyone in the house if you were to be shedding virus," Rajapaske said.

"There's a lot of virtual tours that people are taking to decrease the risk, but to go into a house, as long as you are washing your hands, maintaining those requirements that the realtors are putting in place, like wearing a mask, not touching surfaces — it's very low-risk, especially if nobody is in the house with you," Cary said.

If you have a question about your risk, send us a video to You can see answers to other questions here