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Adapting to COVID-19 Precautions While Buying and Selling Real Estate in Hawaii

As the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds on a daily basis, we all must adapt to change.  How do we continue to work and navigate real estate transactions going forward?  While it feels like the Nation is in a slight paralysis, the fact of the matter is that we must continue to live our lives and plan for the future. The need and desire to buy and sell real estate will not change.  Interest rates have dropped dramatically and are at historical lows. And here on Hawaii, where we are secluded on a small island chain in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it certainly feels like this is not the worst place to call home!  Real estate is a vital part of our country’s economic health and viability, and it seems prudent that real estate transactions must go on.  We all must adapt.

Our hearts go out to the families who are feeling the direct impacts of this new disease.  We are hopeful that our proactive response to the virus will limit exposure and help get the spread under control.  How are we adapting to encouraged “social distancing” in real estate to help stop the spread of this aggressive virus?

  • Working from home. This is the most obvious way to be participating in voluntary social distancing.  For real estate agents, this is not outside the ordinary.  At Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers, our offices are considered meeting places where we engage in business with clients and utilize state of the art technology for printing, scanning and conducting business.  During the next several weeks, we will be staying away from our brick and mortar offices and working from our home offices.
  • Virtual Meetings.  Instead of meeting with clients in our offices to go over paperwork and conduct home searches, we have the opportunity to virtually conduct meetings.  Technology like Zoom Videoconferencing and Google Meetings makes it very easy to still engage face to face, remotely.
  • Video Tours/Virtual Showings.  Rethinking the way we view properties right now is vital.  It is not worth the unnecessary risk to expose clients to potential germs and exposure to COVID-19.  We are working on creating thorough video walk-throughs and tours for all of our listings that will be readily available to potential buyers.  We are encouraging this practice industry-wide and hope it will be adopted by others in the interest of limiting human contact.
  • Home inspections via Video/Skype/FaceTime.  Rather than gathering a group of people for the home inspection, a home inspector, taking proper precautions, can perform the inspection solo and share the findings via video, Skype or FaceTime.
  • Utilizing electronic means such as Docusign in lieu of in-person signings.  This practice has been adopted already by many in our industry, but is essential now for getting documents and offers signed around.  No human contact required, except for a video or phone conference to walk through the paperwork.
  • Abstinence from Open Houses, Meetings, Classes and Broker Caravans.  Limiting unnecessary contact.  Finding other ways to connect and be social, and keep moving forward in real estate business.
  • Wash hands, wash clothes when finished.  Wash hands before and after coming into contact with other people.  To be even more cautious, wash clothes worn in public immediately after returning home.
  • Spend money and support local businesses.  Keeping our community economically strong is vital.  Keep things flowing.  Order online if possible.
  • Aloha.  Smile, be kind, laugh often.  This disease is not going to define how we treat each other.  Don’t let fear take over.  We’ve got this.  Our collective action and how we come together as communities will really make a big difference.

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