Here in New Jersey the Governor has ordered that all "non-essential" employees remain home.
Businesses are ordered to make tele-solutions possible for employees if able. Travel is restricted to trips to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the doctor's office, etc. In NJ ALL gatherings are canceled, no church services, weddings, funerals, parties or any other gatherings are allowed. It's OK to go for a walk or a bike ride to get some exercise, but social distancing must be adhered to.
So how does this affect Real Estate?
Some offices are open. Some are closed. The ones that are opened are required to exercise social distancing as defined by the CDC. Our local and State Associations are telling us that as of now we can still conduct business such as showings as long as we practice social distancing.
The associations have instructed us to ask if anyone going to the showing (or living in the home) is sick or has been exposed to someone with coronavirus. If so they should not go and the seller should not be in the house for showings. I would recommend to our sellers that at a minimum they disinfect all doorknobs, handles, faucets, etc. before and after the showings.
Most of the Mortgage people I know are working from home, but are able to get pre-qualifications done. Attorneys are also working remotely as are many title agents. But here's a hurdle, many town halls are closed to the public, meaning that we're not able to file paperwork for Certificates of Occupancy or Fire Certifications. Several municipalities in NJ are temporarily waiving the requirement to obtain a CO for a resale property.
In NJ, based on the Governor's orders, I would think that Open Houses are not allowed.
So what can we do?
- Prospecting. We do cold calling (actually warm calls) in our office and we are able to do that from home. It's also a good time to devote to mail to expireds or FSBOs or better yet, send handwritten notes to people in your sphere. We have blank note cards that we send out, just say hello, and let them know that you're thinking about them and that you hope that they're doing well during this time. They're probably stressing about this situation as much as you are. You can also make use of your mobile device and CALL the people in your sphere as well as your current clients and prospects. Ask about them, DON'T ask for a referral. If they ask you about your business, let them know you're doing everything you can to get by and you're doing everything possible to service your client's needs. Make sure that they're doing OK. Sadly, many people here have been laid off, hopefully, temporarily, until the pandemic is over. Hopefully your buyer's financial situations haven't changed.
- Social Media. This is a great time to increase your presence on social media. Become the local expert by letting people know which restaurants are still making deliveries or are open for takeout. Offer ideas for entertainment, exercise or recipes.
- Learn Something New. Dive into your CRM and about some of the features it has that you didn't know about. Maybe it's time to update your website by changing the look of it? A new layout or color scheme?
As always you should consult your broker for clarification if unsure how to do business where you are.
Please wash your hands frequently, practice social distancings, follow your local government's restrictions and stay safe! This will end eventually.