Realtors alter how they do business

Published 9:00 am Thursday, March 26, 2020

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With Congress trying to figure out the best way to help the country pay workers who are not able to go into work because of COVID-19, one group of people are still trying to figure out how to work. That group is independent contractors like realtors.

“First of all, I told all my agents to go home. I didn’t want them here. I didn’t want them to feel like they had to be here. A lot of them are still coming in because they’re self-employed,” Century-21 Wood Real Estate owner Debbie Wood said.

“A lot of them are working from home. They’re still following leads.”

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For most real estate agents, they are able to work remotely now, since signing paperwork can be done electronically.

It is tough to show houses electronically though. Wood and her agents have talked about how to show a house while following the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines.

When Wood shows a house right now, she allows the family to park in front of her. Once she parks, she gets out of her car, unlocks the door and lets the family inside the house, while following the six-foot social distancing guideline. She is waiting outside while families look around the house, and they talked in their cars after the family was done looking.

“I really just try to practice the safeguards that they’ve told us,” Wood said. “I think that we’re learning as we go. This is the first time we’ve ever encountered this. We don’t have all the answers, but I’m telling everyone that it’s more important for them to be safe.”

Wood is helping her agents stay safe by closing the door to the public and putting hand sanitizer on every desk. While they are at a house, they bring gloves or tissues to make sure they aren’t having direct contact with any surfaces.

One positive for realtors right now is they don’t have to worry about not having a constant flow of people trying to look at or buy property since they are still closing deals from properties in February.

“I think they’re going to be more hurt in April and May because people are staying home like they’re supposed to do. They’re not getting out, and we’re not having an opportunity to sell as much as we have,” Wood said.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the issue yet as far as the downturn because we’re still selling, and we’re still closing what we sold January and February.”