Around the country, real estate businesses are opening back up after COVID-19. But how exactly do you relaunch your business during a global pandemic? It’s another challenge that is unprecedented in recent memory.
If you have concerns about how to reopen your real estate business, you aren’t alone. The COVID-19 pandemic may have lasting changes on how we use public spaces, particularly for work.
In the short term, real estate agents need to think about three factors as they relaunch:
- Ensuring employee and client safety
- Minimizing health and safety risks
- Staying compliant with new and existing guidelines
Here are five tips for relaunching your real estate business post-COVID-19 and tools that can help you reopen with confidence:
1. Make a Plan for Reopening
Reopening the office after weeks or months away can be a complex undertaking. The CDC recommends going in with a plan in three phases:
- Maintenance and revision
When developing your plan it is important to review the current COVID-19 guidance. Be sure to check federal COVID-19 guidance, CDC guidance for business reopenings, OSHA workplace guidance, and the National Association of Realtors Guide for Realtors.
Helpful guides may also be available from your state or local Realtor association, such as these tips from Florida and Pennsylvania.
Apps for Reopening
That’s a lot of guidance to dig through, which is why it’s great there are several apps available to help.
Mobile form designer Fulcrum has created a whole suite of COVID-19 guides and checklists, including a reopening checklist, and a checklist for employers.
Another app maker, GoCanvas, has also created a suite of COVID-19 apps, including a returning worker checklist.
2. Plan for Cleaning and Disinfecting
According to the CDC, businesses opening after COVID-19 need to employ both routine cleaning as well as additional disinfection for frequently touched surfaces, such as:
- Doorknobs, handles, and light switches
- Counters, desks and tables
- Computers, phones and office equipment
- Kitchen, breakroom and bathroom surfaces
Apps for Cleaning and Disinfecting
Without technology, keeping track of these cleaning and disinfecting procedures could be a headache. But technology makes it very easy.
GoCanvas has CDC-compliant checklist mobile apps for commercial spaces, kitchens and restrooms.
Fulcrum has its own app for cleaning inspection that even lets you monitor and log cleanings remotely.
To put your mind at ease outside the office, it’s even possible to track pre-showing house cleanings. App makers Beekeeper and Whispr collaborated on a new cleaning task lists app which lets you log the cleaning of multiple locations, such as hotel rooms or condo units.
3. Keep Everyone Safe
After COVID-19, it’s also important to keep your office team, clients and guests safe to help limit the spread of illness. Some businesses have employed strategies such as:
- Staggering work shifts
- Limiting office capacity
- Closing off communal spaces
- Requiring appointments and check-ins
- Practicing social distancing
Many are also encouraging the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks and self-disclosure if symptomatic (see NAR’s guidance here).
Apps for Keeping Everyone Safe
To help limit the spread of COVID-19, a number of apps have been proposed for contact tracing. One example is CoEpi, an anonymous Bluetooth app that lets small groups of people create their own early warning system with self-reporting. NOVID is a similar tool using ultrasonic input.
4. Facilitate Remote Closings
Even with the office reopened, everything may not be back to normal. Some localities are continuing to hold real estate closings remotely.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac released new guidance in April on remote ink-signed notarization (RIN) and remote online notarization (RON) requirements for real estate closings, including recommended tech tools.
Apps for Closing
Many agents have already figured out ways to close remotely using Zoom, GoToMeeting, FaceTime and DocuSign (a Folio partner), but the nice thing is that options continue to expand. The real estate technology closing company Qualia recently announced it had launched a new Connect Video Chat app to help facilitate remote closings.
5. Manage Your Transactions
It’s a great feeling finally being able to get back in the office and relaunch your real estate business. But keeping up with guidelines, cleaning schedules, and everyone’s health on top of your regular workload could be a challenge.
With the right tools, you can save yourself time on your transactions, making it easier to manage your other reopening tasks.
Apps for Managing Your Transactions
Ordinarily it can be a struggle to manage your real estate transactions. Our own product, Folio can handle that part for you allowing you to focus on running your business smoothly.
Folio’s AI-powered algorithms understand how to identify and sort emails into workflows that make sense for your real estate business. Our product integrates seamlessly with Gmail and Office365 so your email inbox is always neat and tidy.
Relaunching your real estate business after COVID-19 is easier with the right plan and technology. Make sure to take advantage of existing resources and apps/tools that will help you manage your reopening plan and save time while keeping everyone safe.
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