COVID-19 CREATING CHANGE IN THE WAY REALTORS DO BUSINESS IN 2020 AND BEYOND
July 14, 2020
As a result of the 2020 pandemic, real estate activities have changed dramatically. Normal is still a long way off and may never actually be the same again. As real estate professionals grapple with shelter-in-place orders, partial activities, essential services, phased re-openings, social distancing, and elevated health and travel concerns, they also signal a constantly changing challenge. Real estate firms should monitor the current outbreak of COVID-19 while preparing for further disruption in the future.
Awareness, Response, and Workplace Plans/Policies
Many real estate firms may not have had a disaster recovery or a business continuity plan in place prior to the pandemic. A formal plan should be developed and/or reviewed and evaluated if one was implemented as a result of COVID-19. The coronavirus situation is fluid, and plans should be adjusted as necessary. Closely monitoring issues and concerns of employees as well as changes in regulations is critical so real estate firms can take care of their teams and continue to serve their clients. Procedures for practicing social distancing in a phased return-to-work scenario and/or a continuation of remote working for all or some members of the firm will need to be planned out to maintain business continuity. Real estate brokerage offices should check with their state to determine re-opening guidelines.
Review State Requirements
Local, regional, state, and federal standards may limit which real estate activities may resume. Unfortunately, those standards do not always agree and are frequently changing. Accordingly, before considering participation or support of any real estate activities, the first step is to conduct an internal investigation to confirm which real estate activities are actually permitted and to what extent. If you cannot confirm the activities are permitted, do not proceed. If real estate activities are officially sanctioned and such services proceed, regulations should be consistently monitored for changes. Real estate professionals should also confirm their state specific requirements in carrying out their duties, such as: • Conducting in-person appointments and showings • Requirements that must be followed at any listing or showing • Wearing a mask at a listing or showing • Showing rental properties while tenants are present • Sellers allowing in-person showings • Attending real estate closings with clients • Travel restrictions • Property photos Adherence to regulations will keep buyers, sellers, and real estate professionals safe and keep business and communities open during these challenging times.