No matter the profession, COVID-19 is definitely changing the way we work. As a Realtor, I often get questions about how my business has been able to persevere during these strange times. If you have been reading my market reports, you know that while there was a small dip in the volume of sales due to low inventory, the Arlington market has been quite robust. The pandemic has led many of my current clients to reflect on their lives and decide to make some changes.
For example, I have a California-based client who wants to move back to this area to be closer to family and friends, and a local Arlingtonian client who wants to move to the West Coast for exactly the same reason. I have several clients who have decided that their tiny rental apartments can no longer accommodate working from home. With the record low rates, now is a great time for them to pursue the dream of homeownership.
The demand is there. In order to meet it, my industry has been quick to adapt and serve the needs of buyers and sellers safely. Knock on wood, I have been as active as ever professionally, but have managed to avoid infection (as have my clients). There are two fundamental tools I have employed to make it work: “virtual everything” and PPE.
I often think about how lucky many of us are that this pandemic presented itself now instead of 30 years ago. Back then there was no internet, no cell phones, and working from home was practically unheard of. We have an infrastructure now that supports a lot of the work that many people do. I, too, have moved much of the work I do to a virtual space. From Zoom meetings and trainings to FaceTime client meetings and tours to Facebook virtual open houses, I can meet my colleagues and clients where they are (even if they are hundreds of miles away). I wish I had some stock in Zoom!
Even with all the amazing virtual tools at my disposal, I would not be able to do my job without relying on PPE to protect both me, my clients, and the general public. For sellers, I can have initial meetings over the phone or on Zoom, and I can virtually tour a home to make recommendations to get it ready for sale. But, at some point in the process, I will need to enter that home (as will contractors or stagers, if needed). I need to direct photography and, when needed, host a virtual open house or provide FaceTime tours. I could not do this without masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and booties.
As for buyers, while some are purchasing homes remotely based on property videos or FaceTime tours, most of my local buyers are opting to see the homes in person. And, you may be noticing that Open House signs – that have been non-existent during the past few months – are starting to pop up around town. With PPE, tours and open houses can be done safely. PPE has also allowed me to be present for the most important moment in my buyers’ journey, the day they get the keys to their new home!
Thanks to “virtual everything” and PPE, we in Arlington have been able to keep infection rates down when compared to others, but we have not been perfect. If you are curious about how we are doing, check out the Harvard Global Health Institute map. It tracks infection rates and deaths worldwide and in the U.S., it breaks the rates down by county. I check it frequently to see how we are doing. We have had a couple of mini-spikes lately, so be careful out there!
If you have been on the fence about buying or selling your home, I hope the above reassures you that it can be done safely. I am always available for a Zoom or FaceTime coffee if you want to learn more!
TTR Sotheby’s International Realty is regarded as one of the highest-performing real estate firms in the United States. With nine offices and over 450 sales associates across Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, our commitment to professional service, integrity, and community leadership allowed us to capture more than $3.17 Billion in closed sales in 2018, while also serving as one of Washington D.C.’s foremost leaders in corporate philanthropy.
TTR Sotheby’s International Realty
2300 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 200
Arlington, Virginia 22201