Amid coronavirus fears, this tried-and-true piece of tech can help real estate agents continue showing homes while staying safe.
The coronavirus outbreak has rattled a number of industries, from tech to travel to real estate. You may be trying to conduct business as companies are resorting to telecommuting, in an effort to quarantine those who are sick and prevent the virus from spreading.
As a real estate professional, you have to be prepared during times of uncertainty. So, how can you weather a quarantine?
What Redfin Is Doing
In a recent blog post, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman announced the brokerage would offer on-demand video home tours for homebuyers worried about being exposed to COVID-19, a potentially-deadly form of coronavirus that causes mild to severe respiratory symptoms including fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
“We’ve long had a push-button tool for requesting a private, in-person tour of homes for sale,” Kelman wrote. “Starting today, we’re letting homebuyers use that tool to ask the agent to conduct the tour virtually via video chat. Our customers can also complete every part of a contract virtually; in the states where the law allows it, customers who use our mortgage and title service can close electronically.”
“If you’d rather not meet others except where necessary, we can let you see a home, bid on it, and close on it, all virtually,” he added.
So staying at home doesn’t mean your business should grind to a complete halt, because any REALTOR® can do this.
In the video above, see how you can keep every crevice of your listings in front of potential buyers with 3D videos. (Sometimes it’s the things you already know, probably use and likely love that can protect you in a crisis.)
Kelman said sellers in Seattle have expressed concerns about agents hosting one-on-one tours and open houses, with some pulling their homes off the market. Buyers in Seattle, San Antonio, and Tampa Bay have paused their home searches with one buyer canceling an offer.
The CEO said his team is split on what the drop in demand in Seattle and other COVID-19 epicenters mean for the future, depending on how the fight against the virus develops.
“Redfin’s demand fluctuates plenty from day to day, especially in a single market, and this may only be a significant but short-lived reaction to the first serious virus infections on the U.S.,” he explained. “It could also be more serious, and affect the rest of North America.”
Advice for Agents
For those who’d still like to continue their transactions as normal, Redfin also rolled out new guidance based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advice for reducing the risk of infection — wash hands frequently and wipe down surfaces with a household cleaning spray or wipe.
“We’ve advised our agents not to shake hands with customers who would rather not have to worry about contact with new people; please don’t take it personally,” he said. “We’re asking our listing customers to have [wipes] on hand during private showings, for agents from other brokerages to use after a tour. We’re also supplying our agents with wipes and cleaning materials.”
Although there’s fierce debate on whether Americans’ fears about COVID-19 are justified or overblown, Redfin isn’t the only real estate company erring on the side of caution. Realogy, RE/MAX, Compass, Zillow, Keller Williams, and the National Association of REALTORS® have adjusted their conference, meeting, and work schedules to serve industry members who can’t travel or meet in person.
By employing this oldie-but-a-goodie technology, you’ll be able to stay on top of your business without posing a health risk.