I thought I’d share what we’re doing to help our clients safely buy and sell real estate during this crazy COVID time. Given it’s been over a year that we’ve been operating during a pandemic, the precautions we take have now become almost second nature!
One of the first things we did, starting in March of 2020, was switch all of our consultations with buyers and sellers to phone/computer. This wasn’t really a huge shift — we already conducted about 1/3 of our appointments this way prior to the pandemic — as we’ve worked virtually with out-of-area clients for years. Switching to 100% virtual allows us to continue to ‘meet’ with clients and prospective clients safely.
For seller clients First, we employ strategies designed to build momentum for the ‘launch’ of a seller’s home to the buying public and then we concentrate showing activity during a short 2-3-day window. This allows our sellers to leave the house for a few days while showings occur, as well as has the added benefit of creating an auction-like environment and competition among buyers.
We also utilize an electronic scheduling system so agents can schedule showings for their clients and it allows us to space out the appointments so there aren’t multiple parties in the house or waiting in line at the same time.
We place a ‘sanitation kit’ at our sellers' homes that contain hand sanitizer, sterilizing spray, paper towels, and instructions for agents and their clients to remove their shoes, wear masks, and avoid touching surfaces. Then we sanitize everything before the seller returns to the home!
For buyer clients While we miss spending time in the car with our clients, we’ve switched to meeting buyers at the homes we’re showing and caravanning to the next one if we’re showing them multiple homes in the same day. That helps us maintain social distance and avoid too much time together in a small space.
The thing that became apparent after a few COVID showings was all the extra stuff we have to carry now. Whereas pre-COVID was just a clipboard, pen, and your phone, now we’ve added sanitizing spray, wipes, and masks. Wendy had to buy an extra little purse just to carry everything so she'd still have a hand free to unlock the lockbox, open the door, and spray down everything she might have to touch!
We make sure to instruct our clients not to touch anything and to let us know if they’d like a cupboard or closet door opened so we can do so with our wipes. And of course, masks are required for everyone when we enter the home.
We’ve also done a lot of ‘virtual’ showings, utilizing FaceTime, Skype, Duo, Facebook Messenger, Google Hangout, and the like to ‘show’ our clients homes. Again, since we work with many out-of-town folks, we already knew how to ensure our clients were able to see everything they needed to in order to purchase a home without actually being in it.
And of course, we want to keep each other safe also. For the most part, we have our separate spaces where we’re able to work mask-free, however, we wear masks in common areas and when we’re within six feet of each other, and we use hand sanitizer before entering the kitchen and bathroom. Plus, after a couple of COVID close calls, we’re limiting guests and conducting most vendor or other colleague meetings via Zoom.
While it has taken some adjustment, we’ve been able to make do and are able to continue our high level of customer service throughout this crazy time!