The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and many local State Department of Health such as in Washington (WSDH) are currently recommending people not gather in groups of 10 or more. Additionally, in WA. Governor Jay Inslee announced restrictions through the end of March on public gatherings larger than 250 people in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. These restrictions may extend beyond March and may affect other counties in Washington State as well as other State and local jurisdictions in the near future. With these thoughts in mind, please read the following recommendations from a number of area brokerages:
- When holding open houses, make sure to clean and disinfect all surfaces and have sanitizer placed around their home. Hang signs reminding people to use sanitizer as they enter the home and to wash their hands in the bathroom. Do not offer food or drinks, and clean all surfaces again after the open house.
- For owner-occupied homes, discuss the pros and cons of holding open houses, especially if there are young, elderly, or immunocompromised people living in the home. Many open houses have been very busy. Sellers may want to consider leaving their home during the weekend of their open house.
- If you are attending a brokers open, don’t carpool with other brokers - drive separately.
- Limit the number of people viewing your sellers’ home at the same time. When cooperating brokers call to schedule showings recommend that owners set a 30 minute gap between bookings. If the home is vacant, add showing instructions for visiting brokers to wait outside if another group is in the home before them.
- Think about creating walk-through videos if you do not already include this in your marketing plan. Buyers may be looking to “walk through” the home first without physically going in-person. Many brokers may be doing their first showings this way if available.... Walk-through videos on Zillow also get ranked at the TOP of search results so this can also improve showings and market time.
- Practice social distancing and meet with clients remotely when possible. Consider using video calling technology like FaceTime, Facebook Live, Google video, or Skype, and take advantage of TransactionDesk and the Authentisign Electronic Signature Service to limit in-person contact.
- Have open communication about coronavirus prior to meeting with anyone in-person. You should feel comfortable asking any prospect, client, customer, or broker if are experiencing the symptoms of coughing, fever or chills and/or if they have been in close contact with anyone that has exhibited these symptoms. If the answer is yes, do not meet with them in-person.
Please visit the CDC’s website and local State websites such as the Washington State Department of Health’s website for the latest updates about the disease. Additional information about the impact of coronavirus on the real estate industry can be found on the National Association of Realtor’s website. We are encouraged by all of us doing our part in the real estate arena to help slow the spread of this illness. While the virus is proving most serious for the elderly or those with existing health conditions, the fewer of us who contract COVID-19, the better. That helps us all to reduce the risk to our more vulnerable populations and to avoid overwhelming the health care system.