It’s Nice to Be Needed: Realtors Declared Essential
APRIL 1, 2020 – On Wednesday, seven Bay Area counties and the City of Berkeley extended the shelter-in-place order to May 3 and updated the list of essential services to include residential real estate. That announcement followed a similar one from the Department of Homeland Security over the weekend.
It’s nice to be needed, but…
What exactly does it mean when Realtors are declared essential during a pandemic, when we’re still not supposed to get within 6 feet of another person, touch common surfaces, share pens, lick doorknobs (you really shouldn’t do that anyway)…?
Realtors traditionally are all about the personal touch, so we want to figure out how to be at your service as soon and as SAFELY as possible.
We can’t throw open the doors wide yet, not in good conscience.
We now have a three-part test that helps our agents determine whether they should venture out into the world to perform a service for clients in person. We are asking ourselves:
- Is it essential to helping clients in a transaction?
- Is it impossible to do it virtually?
- Can it be done while adhering to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for social distancing, sanitization, etc.?
Sometimes the answer is going to be no. Frustrated? We get it. You might be eager to sell your home or move into a new one, disappointed that no one has been able to walk through the property, or irritated that your inspections have been delayed.
The COVID-19 outbreak has not yet peaked in California.
Very real health risks are still associated with congregating at properties, even vacant ones. If we ask the myriad of skilled professionals who help us sell your home – photographers, 3D imagers, stagers, painters, handy people, cleaners, etc. – to show up to work, are we potentially putting you and them in harm’s way?
Note that as many as 25 percent of people infected with COVID-19 may not show symptoms, according to a Centers for Disease Control warning this week.
Also on our minds and heavy in our hearts is the March 26 coronavirus death of real estate agent Barbara Johnson Hopper of the Oakland Hills.
Here’s how we will continue helping clients while shelter-in-place orders are in effect:
- We will put the health and safety of our community first.
- We will do everything that we possibly can virtually.
- We will work within CDC guidelines for social distancing.
- We will do everything we can to protect you from avoidable risks that may expose you to potential liability.
Abio Properties remains on the front lines of our industry’s response to this crisis. Co-founder and broker Cameron Platt is a former attorney who sits on the board of directors of the National Association of Realtors and California Association of Realtors. We are thinking about risk management constantly.
Some other brokerages and agents might rely on the essential designation and un-shelter-in-place. It’s tempting. But we can’t see how short-term gain is worth potential long-term pain.
So, today we continue to work from home and leave only when it is essential to serve clients. We are doing our part to help flatten the curve and keep everyone safe.
The sooner we all do exactly that, the sooner we can go back to helping you into your next home – exactly where you want to be.
PS Remember to join our #FeedTheFirst movement! Donate in $10 increments to help buy meals for local first responders and emergency staffs on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Abio Properties and Best Coast Burritos co-founder Alvin Shen joined forces to make this happen, and Abio pledged to match 200 burritos donated, doubling the impact! Click to donate today!
Abio Properties agents are here for you during this uncertain time. We will answer all the questions we can, and won’t pretend to have the answers when we don’t. Reach out to 888-400-ABIO (2246) or firstname.lastname@example.org.