Tips for property dealers in the era of coronavirus fears

Friday, March 27th, 2020 07:00 |
Housing cooperatives serve as a viable affordable housing solution. Photo/Courtesy

Personal interaction is an essential aspect of the real estate business, so social disruptions such as elicited by coronavirus creates some tension in conducting business.

Some tips are necessary for land agents, realtors and other real estate professionals at this time:

Getting information

First, do not panic, stay informed, and use your best judgment. The pandemic is not a static situation, but beware of changing levels of risk.

Focus on putting policies in place to keep your employees informed, safe and avoid business disruption in case the situation worsens. 

  Client screening

You may ask clients or employees about their recent travel, particularly to regions identified as having an increased risk of Covid-19.

To avoid compromising future clients, be sure to explain the process upfront to potential clients let them know it is for their safety as well as yours.

To prevent appearing discriminative, ask all clients the same screening questions based on current and factual information from public health authorities.

  Driving clients to show houses

You may be cautious of driving clients to property sites, especially if they indicate symptoms of illness or came from areas of increased risk.

It is preferable to simply arrange meetings with clients at a site. Should you continue to drive clients in your car, it is a good idea to frequently clean and disinfect surfaces such as door handles and seat belt latches, and to ask clients to use hand sanitisers when getting in and out of the car.

  Viewing Property

Speak openly with your client  about the pros and cons of holding an open house based on the local situation.

Assess the risks based on specific locations and direct your clients to government health authorities for specific information on the virus.

This is also the time to experiment with alternative property marketing technologies that limit the requirements for buyers to be present for making initial assessments of the property, such as video tours.

If you must hold an actual open house, ask all visitors to disinfect their hands upon entering the home, limit the number of people in the house or plot and provide alcohol-based hand sanitisers at entry points.  Also, use soap and disposable towels in bathrooms.

  Office Operations

First, property brokers should implement a mandatory “stay-home” policy for any sick worker or agent. 

Sending staff on leave and imposing a mandatory remote work policy for employees can help. All office meetings and events should be cancelled;  hold virtual meetings instead.

Also, a greater application of digital technologies will ease the operational efficiency for most entities.  Source:  Francis Kihanya, CEO, Manyatta Capital/ Internet sources. 

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