“Neither rain nor sleet nor snow stays our agents from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” OK, so maybe the U.S. Postal creed wasn’t originally written about real estate agents, but after the onslaught of some of our winter and spring weather, perhaps it should have been!
Everyone who’s been in real estate for any prolonged period realizes that there’s no such thing as a ‘fair weather’ real estate agent. When the skies threaten, the winds howl, the water rises, and the snowdrifts get out of hand, it can be tempting to pull the covers over your head and wait it out. Not for our CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty real estate agents, though!
Here are some tips on how they handle their clients and their real estate business when the weather is less than cooperative:
“When storms are coming, I reach out with preparation tips. Once a storm comes through, I do touch base with my clients to see if any damage was incurred and if so help them, if needed, to get in touch with a contractor. I check on my vacant properties and work with the owners to get any damage fixed. That often entails meeting contractors for estimates and then again for repairs and to coordinate payments. Sometimes you feel more like a contractor yourself than a real estate agent, but that is just what I do. I think it is important to go above and beyond. I also am sure to notify any showing agents of damage incurred and what is being done to remedy it.”
“It was definitely a crazy week. Frederick, along with other areas, was hit very hard. Two of my first-time buyers that had houses under contract were the unfortunate "victims" for lack a of better word of flood damage to their under contract homes and I definitely think there are good and bad ways to handle these situations.
The [seller's] agent that was very diligent went to the vacant property, identified the problem, notified me that there was water in the basement, how it was being remediated and wanted to inform the buyers immediately that they could come by and see what was being done. This property did not have extensive water or damage and actually closed this week.
The second property was vacant and was not checked on for several days. Buyers have not been allowed to go in and view the damage until it is remediated. This could affect whether or not they move forward with the contract.
From a listing standpoint, I worked with all of my sellers to make sure that they checked their properties or I stopped by for them, both vacant and occupied on a daily basis to ensure that they were not having problems. We talked about clearing out basement stairwells from debris, checking downspouts, checking to see if they needed contractors and any other issues that could be a problem due to the flooding."
EVP Cindy Stackhouse from C21 Redwood Montclair has been working with her agents around this very issue. Here’s part of the list of ideas her office came up with about how to handle things when there’s bad weather:
- Agents are to check all signs and riders.
- Sellers are told to call their agent if there’s any problem with a sign or property to get vendor assistance.
- Vacant houses need to be checked after a storm.
- Out of area sellers need to be informed ASAP after a storm-even if there’s no damage and no problem.
- Agents should share vendor information for clean up, and for maintenance and minor repairs.
- Agents should provide sellers with a checklist for storm preparation (i.e., bring in lawn furniture if high winds, etc.). Everyone should make sure gutters are clean and clear leaves away from drains for walkout basements.
- Sellers should be educated to have warranty and insurance info readily available in case something does happen.
“I have spent too much time checking on signs in the past, so now when I put them up, I always add a nylon zip tie. While the S hook holds the weight, the nylon tie will keep the sign from blowing off the S hook.
I still take clients out in the rain. In my trunk, I keep a bag with supplies such as shoe covers and even a brown paper bag (clients don't always tell me that they’re in their first trimester!) to deal with carsick passengers. Paper towels, eyeglass cleaner, window cleaner, small tools, a tape measure, a roll of toilet paper and hand sanitizer are other essentials. Some of the items are good for checking a vacant property and removing smudges from the window on a storm door, etc.
In the winter, I carry a snow shovel because not everyone is diligent about cleaning sidewalks and driveways after a snow event.
Lockdown weather events are good for calling to check in on how clients are dealing and see if they need any help.”
Wow! Certainly no ‘fair weather’ agents to be found at CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty!