- What is the need for social distancing?
- Except for social distancing, what other health measures should be taken?
- Must social distancing happen if it is only the agent and the seller?
- Are personal viewings allowed?
- The do’s and the don’ts
A year into the COVID-19 pandemic leaves us with our masks on and our social distancing still very much in place.
Almost everything has been disrupted: schools cannot function normally, restaurants have taken a financial blow, and businesses have opted for remote-working. Even though some restrictions have been lifted, nothing is the way it used to be.
In the real estate industry, it has become difficult to conduct business as per normal. Luckily show days are still allowed but it must happen in a safe environment.
Here are a few things to consider:
What is the need for social distancing?
It is difficult for people to stay away from people at this moment in time. Businesses need to operate at full capacity to try and recover from the hard lockdown in 2020.
The best way to do this whilst the country awaits full vaccine rollout is by social distancing.
The COVID-19 virus spreads through respiratory droplets that can land in the mouths and noses of other people during speaking or sneezing.
According to the medical data, if masks are worn and there is a safe distance of 1 meter between people, the risk is minimal.
Except for social distancing, what other health measures should be taken?
Show days are a vital part of the home selling process. It can also attract a lot of people which is why real estate agents should implement strict health measures.
Try to refrain from meeting any client that has been out of the country in the past two weeks.
If your client has been in the country, ensure that they complete a COVID-19 questionnaire. This will help you determine whether they suffer from any symptoms.
You should also ensure that temperature checking and sanitizing occurs on the show day.
Must social distancing happen if it is only the agent and the seller?
The answer is an absolute yes.
Quite a few real estate agents may have become complacent in their working environments over the past year or so. Yet, sellers, buyers, and agents alike should still adhere to the COVID-19 protocols set out by the government.
Real estate agents are encouraged not to unnecessarily touch anything at the show house. Similarly, buyers should sanitize upon arrival and refrain from opening cupboards or doors unless it is vitally important.
Landlords can consider leaving cupboards and doors open on show days.
Are personal viewings allowed?
Of course, private showings are allowed, but ideally, they are not encouraged. Isn’t the whole point of social distancing to avoid unnecessary human contact?
There are many alternatives that real estate agents and buyers can make use of, for instance, advancements in technology. Many agents are opting for virtual (reality) tours where the buyer does not have to leave their house – only when that first viewing turns out to be fruitful (i.e. there’s more interest), then an in-person viewing might be next.
Agents can provide online links to their clients and they can look at a wide range of homes without stepping outside.
The do’s and the don’ts
Some of the important things that should be avoided during show days have been made clear by the government at the beginning of lockdown.
Depending on the level, agents must ensure that the number of viewers does not exceed the maximum number of people allowed indoors.
Encourage potential viewers not to travel outside of the country until the show day. Ask the landlords to avoid hiring domestic workers on the day of the showing.
There are, however, some things you can do on show days to elevate the show house.
Sellers can ask agents to live stream the tours of the house. They can also choose to have staggered showtimes over a weekend. This way sellers will reach maximum buyers in smaller groups whilst still following social distancing protocols.
The pandemic has caused a lot of financial ruin but there are still many ways in which homes can safely be sold.