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Coronavirus: Working as a Real Estate Agent During Quarantine
April 29, 2020

Coronavirus: Working as a Real Estate Agent During Quarantine

by The CE Shop Team

What Agents Need to Know for Safely Working During Quarantine

Over the past two months, we have received thousands of calls and emails from real estate agents all over the country asking about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect their day-to-day activities working in the industry. Here is a snapshot of the most common questions we have received.

What does “essential service” mean?

An “essential service” is an arbitrary term for when the state deems interruption of the service will endanger the life, health, or personal safety of part of the population. Many state governments have deemed real estate an essential service but what that exactly means varies by area.

In one location, it may simply mean real estate offices are just closed, and agents can meet with clients or show properties. In other areas, it may mean all services are open as long as social distancing guidelines are strictly followed. Regardless, businesses deemed essential are not subject to shelter-in-place orders but must strictly follow local COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.

How do I find out if real estate is considered ‘essential’ in my area?

The majority of states and municipalities are left to decide which services are essential. Because of these multiple and sometimes conflicting government designations, the situation is constantly changing. NAR is currently working with associations to get their local and state governments to make this designation for real estate, with some varying degrees of success.

Visit your state’s real estate commission or government website for more information regarding real estate being an essential service in your area.

What work can I do if real estate is declared “non-essential”?

There’s a common misconception when it comes to the term “non-essential” for agents. Just because an area declares the real estate industry “non-essential” services, it does not mean that all real estate activities are canceled or suspended.

Check with your local association or regulatory authority for more information.

Are there any new COVID-19 addenda?

Many states’ REALTOR® associations have created state-specific COVID-19 addenda. Some addenda may include or deal with:

  • Financing
  • Inspection
  • Title cure
  • Due diligence period
  • Any relevant association approval

Check with your managing broker, form provider, or REALTOR® association to get the latest news regarding any addenda.

What else should I be doing during COVID-19?

Now is a great time to get ahead and set yourself up for success during and after this pandemic ends. Some of the activities that agents should be doing are:

  • Keeping in touch with current clients
    Make use of your CRM tools and social media presence to keep in touch with your clients. This is a great time to reach out because everyone is stuck at home. If you need a conversation piece, look up some recently listed homes in the area that you feel they might be interested in.

  • Prospecting for new clients
    Many people are currently waiting for the coronavirus quarantine to end to purchase a new home. This could lead to a large influx of demand for homes, starting as early as this summer. Use the free time you have now to find these clients and set yourself up for a busy second half of the year.

  • Looking for better ways to automate your business
    Automating your business not only makes your life easier, it will help grow your career. Using automation diminishes stress and responsibility, allowing you to concentrate on the more important items at hand.

  • Adapting to use more technology, like VR tours of your homes for sale
    Redfin and Zillow have been reporting record numbers for VR tour requests and creations, respectively. Quarantine has catalyzed peoples’ embrace of technology in the real estate sphere. We explore these technologies more in our Business Guide to Technology Tools for Real Estate ebook.

  • Completing your Continuing Education online
    Because seriously, what else do you have to do?

  • Getting multi-state licensed, if you're in the right area
    Areas like D.C. metropolitan practically require you to be multi-licensed in order to be competitive. Learn more about multi-state licensing and how it can help you.

Doing Business During COVID-19

Working in real estate during coronavirus can be tricky business, which is why we’re offering our Doing Business During COVID-19 course for free. Through this online course, we expand upon what we discussed here while breaking down everything else you need to know for effectively but safely working as a real estate agent during the coronavirus pandemic.