For those in the real-estate industry across the region, the advent of the COVID crisis has added another layer of personal safety to be concerned about.
The pandemic “has completely changed the home-buying experience and it’s vital that we provide updated safety information to reflect this ‘new normal,’” said Brian Donnellan, president and CEO of Bright MLS, which operates the multiple-listing service across the Mid-Atlantic region.
Among the tips that Bright MLS has issued for those in the industry:
• Avoid shaking hands with prospective buyers.
• Wear a mask when showing homes.
• Set up a table outside of the home with personal protective equipment, including masks, hand sanitizer and a list of safety guidelines.
• Utilize “virtual” meetings and phone calls when possible to correspond with clients, to help limit in-person interactions.
• Avoid sharing a vehicle with clients when visiting homes.
• Schedule showings at multiple houses with enough time in between to take the necessary precautions and disinfect door handles, surfaces, etc.
• Maintain a log of all visitors whohave entered a home for contact-tracing purposes.
• Request that homeowners leave windows, cabinets, doors, etc., open before they leave their home, in order to limit contact when showing a home.
Chris Finnegan, chief marketing and communications officer of Bright MLS, said Realtors are using the COVID situation to evaluate past practices and consider new ones.
His thoughts for those in the industry?
“Embrace technology to reduce contact and keep up with social-distancing,” Finnegan told the Sun Gazette. “This includes using virtual open houses/tours, listings with 3D photos, etc. Meet your client at a public place and try not to host tours or open houses alone. Use lockboxes that have timers and alerts.”
“’Virtual’ technology allows for excellent (sometimes better than live) tours and images, and consumers have absolutely gravitated toward them,” Finnegan said.
But COVID is only one concern. While generally a safe profession, there have been cases of real-estate professionals facing violence while performing their duties.
Among the tips Bright MLS has issued in that regard:
• Be acutely aware of both the physical location and the time of day when working.
• Always tell someone else when and where you are showing a listing or conducting an open house.
• Know whom you’re working with and be sure to invest the time to get to know your client well – this includes asking them to complete a prospect-identification form.
Bright serves approximately 95,000 real-estate professionals who in turn serve over 20 million consumers. For more information, see the Website at www.brightmls.com.
[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]