We’re navigating through difficult waters. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has travelled at lightning speed through Asia, Europe, and the United States, halting much of public life and throwing a dark shadow of uncertainty over the following weeks and months. If you’re working in an area with a high number of reported cases, you might have been asked to work from home. What does this mean for your showings? All your clients? The situation is still in flux, and we have more questions than answers. But, in high stress times, it’s important to keep calm and informed on current best practices for your own health, safety and well-being. Here’s some tips for staying safe as real estate agents and continuing to grow your businesses sustainably.
What is the coronavirus?
The potentially lethal flu-like respiratory illness, the novel coronavirus 2019 (otherwise known as COVID-19 or simply The Coronavirus) was first identified in Wuhan, China in late 2019. Since its genesis, the Coronavirus has traveled through Asia, Europe, and America at lightning speed. In its wake, it has left over 100,000 infected, 6,000 deaths, a news-cycle dominated by its presence, and a very uncertain global economy.
1. Follow common sense safety precautions and all local, state, and nationwide directions.
The big one—follow the common sense safety precautions that decrease our chance of getting sick every flu season. Practice regular hygiene: wash your hands with warm water and soap for a full 20 seconds, try to avoid touching your face. We take soap for granted, but it reliably kills germs, including the coronavirus! If soap is not available, choose a sand sanitizer with that contains over 60% alcohol.
- Reconsider travel plans to areas of high risk, and take extra precaution when interacting with large crowds. At your brokerage, keep high-touch surfaces clean, and keep yourself risk-free by regularly sanitizing work spaces and door knobs.
- Your brokerage has probably released their own suggestions for staying safe and minimizing danger and interaction. If you’re working in an area with a high number of reported cases, you might have been asked to work from home.
- Your state and local government will also have advice and laws. Follow all without fail to decrease your chance of infection.
- If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms or otherwise just seem to be under the weather, don’t take any risks. Stay home until you are symptom free for 24 hours! If you are experiencing the Coronavirus’ tell-tale fever and dry cough, and suspect that you’ve recently been in contact with someone from a high-risk area, get the advice of your doctor immediately.
- When you’re recovering from an illness or are caring for a someone who currently is experiencing symptoms, wear a surgical mask when you’re public to help keep everyone healthy!
2. Accommodate your clients
Everyone’s level of risk is different. While you may not be at risk for the Coronavirus, you never know if your client has a history of respiratory or autoimmune issues or if they live with vulnerable relatives.
You’re in the Relationship Business, so build a relationship with your client based on understanding, not judgement. If your client expresses concern over meeting, suggest an outdoor place or a Skype call. As more restaurants and cafes suggest state-wide closures, Skyping might be the safest alternative! If you’re still going to showings, bring pocket hand sanitizer along with you.
3. Know your risk
For many people, the Coronavirus is not fatal. However, the chance of experiencing serious symptoms, undergoing hospitalization, and facing fatality increase dramatically with age and a history of respiratory issues. When you consider how much of your life to put on hold due to the Coronavirus, don’t just consider yourself. Think of those who you are in constant contact with. Do you live with an older relative, partner, friend or roommate? Are you in contact with someone who may be more at risk. This is a public health problem, so treat it seriously!
4. Trade handshakes and hugs for the friendliest of waves
At any conventions and open houses that you choose to attend, try to limit contact with other people and potential exposure by maintaining a healthy social distance. Instead of handshakes, offer a friendly wave.
5. Read the news! But, make sure you’re looking at trusted sites
It’s important to keep in mind that there’s a lot that we don’t know about the coronavirus. Scientists and epistemologist are working hard and fast to try to determine the specifics of how the coronavirus spreads, long long it stays on surfaces, and the best way to limit contagion, and local governments are responding at lightning speed.
While no one should undersell the coronavirus’ severity, it’s no secret that sensationalist sells. So, take care not to spread unnecessary panic. Instead, be honest about the threat this pandemic poses and how you can avoid becoming ill or becoming a disease vector.
Are headlines stressing you out? Make sure to take some time for your mental health. FaceTime your loved ones, take a minute to destress and mediate before bedtime, and, if necessary, let your news-junkie friends know that you’d like them to lay off sending you every single piece of COVID-19-related news.
6. If you’re a team lead, keep everyone updated.
If you’re a team lead, take the charge on keeping your team updated with all recent Corona virus news (although, read above for best practices!) and be ready to suggest ways in which you can keep everyone healthy.
Be wary of information overload, spreading misinformation from unreliable news sources, or creating more anxiety in your office. However, if there’s a big change the ball’s in your court—step up!
7. Use your tech!
One piece of good news: thanks to increases in tech, there’s a higher chance that you’ll be able to work seamlessly from home.
Rental Beast offers real estate agents access to the over 60% of rentals not found on any MLS. Instead of driving around searching for yard signs and reaching into your sphere of influence, Rental Beast allows you to browse hundreds of thousands of no co-broke listings in your area from the comfort of your home.
Submit your clients’ rental applications without leaving your home. Apply Now is free for all agents and completely online. Abide by CDC’s suggested social distancing, and get the application from you, to your client, to the landlord paper-free.
8. Keep your business safe
Another important question: what does this all mean for your business, long term? Again, we have more questions than answers as the situation stays in extreme flux. However, we do know that that, when economic uncertainty creates risk-adverse spending, rentals tend to become more appealing to shell-shocked customers.
Related: Coronavirus and the Housing Market: Your March Update
9. Practice Self-Care
Seriously. This is all overwhelming and incredibly difficult. Make sure you take time for gratitude practices, at-home exercise, and FaceTime with any family members who you cannot see in person. Stay kind to each other. And remember: this too shall pass.
Rental Beast is here for you and your business–today, tomorrow, and for the long-haul. See how you can sharpen your skills with Rental Beast University, and how you can begin assisting those who urgently need to rent with the end-to-end leasing platform.
2 thoughts on “Coronavirus Update: Staying safe as a Real Estate Agent”