With the coronavirus spreading, it is becoming a delicate balance for real estate agents and brokers.
Real estate professionals must take good rational measures to protect buyers and sellers, and even themselves.
A number of coronavirus cases and deaths are rising across the United States just as the spring home selling season kicks-off. Therefore, a number of agents must come to terms with the harsh reality that the outbreak is putting them in the delicate position of forgoing common practices such as holding open houses or even shaking hands to contain the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
In guidelines issued by the National Association of Realtors, agents have been encouraged to propose alternative marketing opportunities for their sellers’ consideration such as video tours and other methods to virtually tour a property.
Additionally, agents must be mindful of their obligations under the Fair Housing Act, and be sure not to discriminate against any particular segment of the population, the guidance states, noting: “While the coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, that does not provide a basis for treating Chinese persons or persons of Asian descent differently.”
The NAR points out that agents can refuse to drive clients who show signs of illness or reveal recent travel to areas of increased risk of coronavirus. Agents can also decide to stop driving clients in their vehicles altogether and simply arrange to meet clients at a property. However, agents must be sure that any change to their business practices is applied equally to all clients.