The word “essential” seems to have all new meaning for many of us these days…..essential businesses, essential care, essential for life. On March 28th, Realtors received notice that we had been deemed an “essential service”. I have to admit, it made me pause and consider whether that was an accurate determination in these unsettled and uncertain times, but here is what I know: clients have reached out to us in need to buy or sell real estate. If they do not purchase a home in the next 60 days, they will literally be homeless. If they do not sell their investment property that was unexpectedly vacated by tenants, they will not be able to pay the mortgage on their investment property OR their primary residence. While these types of circumstances are compelling us to help those in need of our services, many people do not need to buy or sell right now and are choosing to wait. In any given scenario, we are talking to our clients through all options available to them.
While we are deemed “essential” and we are still working, that does not mean business as usual. In fact, we have been working really hard to adapt our business to this new reality. We are using a variety of tools including virtual tours, Zoom meetings and other virtual platforms to meet with clients, other agents and team members and of course we are making many, many phone calls. The only activity we are doing in person is showing property and only after clients have already driven by the property, previewed the virtual tour, reviewed property information and provided verification that they are pre-qualified and able to purchase the home.
When we show property, we are taking as many precautions as possible per the guidelines we received from the California Association of Realtors. Here is an example of how a showing would go:
- Agent arrives at the property with mask, gloves and shoe coverings ready to put on before entering the house.
- Agent sanitizes the lockbox, then opens the lockbox and sanitizes the key and the front doorknob and opens the door.
- The seller has left all lights on the inside of the house before leaving as well as all interior doors open and window coverings open.
- Buyers arrive with masks on and put on shoe coverings before entering the property.
- No more than 2 prospective buyers are allowed on the property at a time and must maintain 6 ft from the agent at all times. If this can not be maintained, then 1 buyer must wait outside and tour the home separately.
- Buyers and agent do not touch any surfaces in the house.
- Agent locks the front door upon leaving, sanitizes it, sanitizes the key and the lockbox upon returning the key.
- Agent and buyers leave the property and have all discussions about the property over the phone or by virtual meeting after leaving.
This list is only a sample scenario and a fraction of the list of guidelines we received for “best practices” from CAR. We realize that this may seem extreme to some, but we take our responsibility to maintain buyers’ and sellers’ health and safety as well as our own health and safety very seriously. As always, our commitment and focus is on our clients. We know that everyone is facing changes and challenges and many are facing hardship. If we can be of service to you in any way, please let us know. Do not hesitate to reach out with questions. We are here to help in any way we can!