Coronavirus – Florida Real Estate Q&A for By The Sea RealtyFirst of all, let me be very clear. There is nothing more important than the health and safety of our customers and our agents. However, we are absolutely still open for business – in-person and virtually! Our customers depend on our services, so we are committed to adapting our business in order to stay safe while managing our customer’s very important real estate transactions. The good news is that we already utilize the technology necessary to professionally manage our current real estate business virtually and we are welcoming new customers in need of our services. The following questions and answers are just the start. Please feel free to reach out with more questions. Open communication is key to getting through this crisis together.
What are we doing to be safe?
- Our Fort Lauderdale office is open to our agents in order for them to perform necessary business activities. Our office is also available to our customers by appointment only. Our building common areas are cleaned and sanitized daily and our office space is cleaned on a daily basis. If you are a current or new customer please contact your agent or management to schedule an appointment. In-office activities must follow these guidelines:
- If any agents have any signs of illness they will be asked to stay at home.
- Before scheduling an in-office appointment customers will be asked if they have any signs of illness or if they have been in contact with anyone who has or has had COVID-19.
- Agents, staff and customers must follow social distancing guidelines whenever in our office and must wear proper face coverings at all times. If customers do not have face coverings, gloves or hand sanitizer then the appropriate PPE will be provided to them.
- We are operating “virtually” as necessary to accommodate the needs and comfort levels of our customers. We already utilize a full suite of web based tools that allow us to work safely from home while taking care of our customer’s critical real estate needs. We offer online property tours, virtual showings and open houses, and we can setup web based meetings through various conferencing platforms like Zoom and JoinMe. And, of course we are always available via cell phone, text, email, FaceTime and Skype.
- We are strictly following guidelines from the CDC as well as the National Association of REALTORS® guidance to help our REALTORS® respond to the coronavirus’s potential impact on the real estate industry.
- When performing in-person interactions with the public we are strictly observing all CDC guidelines regarding social distancing. In-person activities include, but are not limited to property tours (see below), inspections, surveys, appraisals, etc.
Can we still show property to buyers?Yes, we are able to perform live property tours in two ways:
- Virtual “Live” Video Chat Tours: Join us via Zoom, FaceTime or Skype for a virtual walk-through of any approved listing. We will visit the property on your behalf, show you every nook and cranny of the property and answer all questions you may have.
- In-Person Property Tours: Under certain circumstances we can arrange for an in-person property tour:
- The property owner and seller’s broker must approve the showing.
- All buyers and sellers must agree in writing to in-person showings.
- Broward County Emergency Order 20-08 requires that all agents and customers wear facial masks during in-person activities, and it is our policy to comply with this order for all property showings and tours. In addition, our agents will provide hand sanitizer and masks for customers who do not have personal protective equipment.
- For in-person property tours we also request the following procedures:
- Please meet us at the front door of the house with your facial mask on.
- Property tours are limited to a maximum of 2 buyers at a time.
- Do not touch anything during the tour. We will open all doors.
- Please stay in eyesight of your showing agent at all times while maintaining CDC social distancing guidelines.
- We can walk you through the property “Live” via Skype, FaceTime, Zoom and other popular live video platforms. Time permitting we can tour you through the entire property, showing you every nook and cranny and answering your questions as we go.
- We have video, high resolution photographs and virtual 3D walk throughs of many of our listings. Ask you agent to see these exceptional virtual listings.
- We are also holding virtual open houses (see below).
Will we hold open houses?We are not recommending in-person open houses for the public, but our technology allows us to offer “virtual open houses” and “virtual broker opens” for maximum exposure of our customers’ listings. “In-person” open houses of our property listings may be approved on a case by case basis and must follow the same guidelines as our “In Person Property Tours” above. Contact us for more information on our virtual open house and listing services.
Are real estate closings still happening?Yes, we are busy closing our customers’ real estate transactions under these new and unusual circumstances. However, please be aware that some things may take longer than normal. For example, we are asking for an additional 2 weeks for mortgage approvals, and in some cases inspections, surveys, etc. are taking longer to schedule. We are facilitating association interviews via Skype and our closing agents are offering remote closings and electronic notary services when necessary. As of January 1st, 2020 the state of Florida recognizes Remote Online Notary Public protocol, so this is available if we need it. If you have a pending closing then we will be tracking your deadlines and proposing extensions as necessary for certain parts of our process. The state of Florida has even created a coronavirus contract addendum to be used for this very purpose.
Please note, just like real estate brokerages, title companies are also considered essential services in our area. Most title company offices are open for the purpose of closing our real estate transactions and are handling their closings remotely and electronically. All of our real estate agents and brokers, mortgage brokers and closing agents are available through all means necessary to communicate with you and get your transaction successfully closed.
More Questions?If you have more questions please don’t hesitate to Contact Us or reach out to your agent. We are here for you during these very difficult circumstances. Please be safe and stay healthy!
Rich Barnhart, Broker/Owner
By The Sea Realty, Inc.