To the Editor: Realtors adapt to new norm

To continue delivering first-class services to California’s home sellers and buyers and ensure business continuity, the members of the Ridgecrest Area Association of Realtors are adapting their open house strategies to meet head-on the current coronavirus reality and the ever-changing government orders on what can, and cannot, be done in local communities and statewide.

While working in this environment can literally change every minute, RAAR members are exercising more caution as they work under the hygienic and precautionary measures outlined by the Centers for Disease Control.

Members of RAAR are rightfully concerned about the potential negative impact of COVID-19 on their businesses, but they are more concerned with the safety and security of their clients, and are adapting to a “new norm” by implementing technological solutions and a bit of ingenuity to drive sales and meet client expectations.

At the end of the day, whether it’s the current global pandemic or other challenges presented to our members, we are all in the business of protecting and promoting the interests of our clients. We must adapt to, and leverage, market realities no matter the circumstances and use our knowledge, negotiation skills and technology to treat all parties fairly, get deals done and help keep our local economies strong.

According to a new survey from the National Association of Realtors, nearly one-in-four home sellers nationwide are changing how their home is viewed while the home remains on the market. Some agents are extending the number of open house hours to reduce the number of in-person showings, if allowed by law, and help keep to social distancing requirements. Others are reporting using technologies to host “virtual showings” like video chat on their mobile phone so clients can experience an open house as if they were there in person. And others are working with clients who prefer not to hold open houses at this time.

Whether it’s changes requiring potential buyers to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer or asking buyers to remove shoes or to wear footies, or mandates to shelter in-place, realtors will work within the guidelines stipulated by local and or state governments and implement the measures necessary to get the job done. We’re all in this together and it’s important that our members are working together responsibly to ensure the safety and service of each other and their clients.

Here are some of the steps RAAR members are taking in order to protect and promote the interests of their clients:

1) Ongoing Knowledge: Throughout the day, realtors are checking with their local and state associations to see if there are any government announcements impacting their day-to-day operations.

2) Communicating with Clients: realtors are keeping their clients abreast of business protocols, and also inquiring about the health and well-being of their clients, their families, and their wants and needs moving forward under the coronavirus reality.

3) Screening Measures: realtors will ask such questions as 1) Is anyone in your household currently sick with a fever and/or a cough? Or 2) Has anyone in your household been exposed to a person who has or is suspected of having the coronavirus?

4) Fair Housing Measures: realtors will continue to abide by the Fair Housing Act and not discriminate against any segment of the population.

Carole Vaughn, RAAR president

Story First Published: 2020-03-20