Agents adjusting to new coronavirus reality

by Timothy Inklebarger

Adjusting to the coronavirus outbreak is the new normal, and like everyone else, real estate agents are working to keep themselves and their clients safe.

According to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, conducted on March 9 and 10, almost one out of every four sellers is making changes to how their home is viewed, whether it’s by temporarily suspending open houses, requiring homebuyers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer or asking them to remove their shoes or wear booties during showings.

In two of the hardest hit states — Washington and California — those numbers jump to 44% and 34%, respectively.

The survey also showed that buyer interest in most states remains high, with 78% noting no change and a mere 16% saying it’s decreasing.

Those numbers could change, however, if harder hit states are any roadmap. Twenty-one percent of California respondents reported waning buyer interest and 19% of Washington agents reported a decline in potential homebuyers in the market.

Agents in Miami are already making adjustments in terms of showings.

Aroosa Rauf, broker-owner of RE/MAX Presidential, said their office has provided agents with a guide to staying safe during the outbreak. “For us, our agents’ safety and well-being are high priority — this guide is a big help,” she said in an email.

“Regarding open houses for the public, we are handling [them] on a case-by-case basis and asking our sellers how they feel about it. We are currently discussing the pros and cons of holding an open house,” she said, noting that the “highly tech-oriented” nature of the brokerage’s offices puts them at a bit of an advantage. “Our agents also have the ability to work from home due to our technology available to them.”

Rauf included a summary of the measures RE/MAX Presidential has taken to keep its employees safe:

We recommend our agents keep hand sanitizer in their cars and on their desk.

We ask agents to use Clorox wipes for their computers, keyboards and cell phones.

We are reminding everyone to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after shaking someone’s hands.

We are also reminding everyone to not touch their face with their hands, especially eyes, nose, and mouth.

We have several hand sanitizers placed in the offices.

We are routinely wiping down common areas throughout the office with Clorox such as training rooms, the kitchen, lobby, and conference room.

We have postponed our events and meetings until we have further updates from the CDC.

We continue to monitor the situation closely and will make adjustments as needed.

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