My honest thought?
My honest thought? During this crucial phase of shelter in place, the best contribution Realtors can make to the greater good is to stay home and choose not to sell homes, especially when it requires bending the rules to do so. And to also to step up and be a more consistent voice of encouragement for others to do the same.
After thirty years as a Realtor, I can honestly say there’s little that’s going to happen in anyone’s buying or selling process over the next few weeks, that could be construed as a matter of life and death. By contrast, doing whatever we can to flatten out the curve will almost certainly be a matter of life and death.
On most days, being a Realtor revolves around making appointments, accessing keys, opening doors and showing people around other people’s houses. Sometimes they’re serious and ofttimes they’re just curious. It’s about facilitating as much contact as possible between strangers, in the same place where one of them spends most of their time. You could argue that the successful spread of germs is a big part of the job description.
And yes, the Department of Homeland Security recently decided Realtors were an “essential service.” But as important as I think real estate is, it’s disingenuous to put it on par with what emergency personnel, first responders or healthcare workers are doing. Or even mail carriers, grocery clerks or farm laborers. If you hear a Realtor say they’re essential, that’s more about their need to make a living, than it is about anyone else’s immediate need for health and safety.
How many people are truly interested in buying a home during these unprecedented times? Notice I didn’t say: looking at homes because it’s clear that people have a lot more time on their hands at the moment. Check out Netflix’ stock! I’m saying actually buying a home.
Here are a few of the calls I received this week: “I’m thinking about buying in a few months, I have time to start looking.” “My friend wants to move to Santa Cruz and he wants me to start looking for him.” “My tenants just moved out and I’d like to put my house on the market.” I think I can get a pretty good deal right now, let’s look at that new place that just came on.” The interest rates are going lower, I’m thinking that now might be a good time to buy.”
While it is great to get the calls and hear so many people express interest in buying homes, even in the face of the coronavirus, do any of these situations really qualify as essential? You be the judge.