Personal interaction is an essential aspect of the real estate business, so social disruptions like the one elicited by the coronavirus creates some tension in conducting business. In this article, we address some ways agents, realtors, and other real estate professionals could navigate the coronavirus scare.
First, do not panic, stay informed, and use your best judgment. Observe that this is not a static situation and take note of changing levels of risk. Focus on putting policies and procedures in place to keep your employees informed, safe, and to avoid business disruption in the event the situation worsens
You may ask clients or employees about their recent travel, particularly to areas identified as having an increased risk of coronavirus. To avoid compromising future clients be sure to explain the process upfront to potential clients let them know it is for their safety as well as yours.
To prevent appearing discriminative, be sure to ask all clients the same screening questions based on current, factual information from public health authorities.
Driving Clients to Showings
You may be cautious of driving clients to showings especially if they show signs of illness or reveal recent travel to areas of increased risk of coronavirus. It is more preferable to simply arrange meetings with clients at a property. Ultimately any change to your business practices is applied equally to all clients.
Should you continue to drive clients in your car, it is a good idea to frequently clean and disinfect surfaces like door handles and seat belt latches, and to ask clients to use hand sanitizer when getting in and out of the car.
First, speak openly and honestly with your seller about the pros and cons of holding an open house based on the local situation. Assess the risk based on your specific location, and direct your clients to local and state health authorities for specific information about the severity of the risk in your area.
This may also be the right time to experiment with alternative property marketing technologies that limit the requirements for buyers to be present for making initial assessments of the property like video tours, virtual tours, and other remote methods.
However, if you do hold an actual open house, consider requiring all visitors to disinfect their hands upon entering the home, limiting the number of people in the home and providing alcohol-based hand sanitizers at the entryway, as well as soap and disposable towels in bathrooms.
First, property brokers should implement a mandatory “stay-home” policy for any staff member or agent exhibiting any sign of illness, and brokers may want to consider imposing a mandatory remote work policy for employees and instructing agents to stay out of the office.
In addition, taking measures such as holding virtual meetings or potentially postponing or canceling in-person meetings or events may be good measures to take to limit close contact between individuals.
Also, a greater application of digital technologies will ease the operational efficiency for most entities. Meanwhile, office premises should as much as possible, be kept clean.
Finally, be sure to keep track of updates from verified experts and authorities in your local jurisdiction. For business purposes, it could help to follow helpful resources like the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers, in the midst of this #coronapocalypse.
Adopted from the National Association of Realtors