As we get settled into the reality of social distancing amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, doing real estate work from home has gone from a luxury to a necessity. Here are some things you should know if you’re considering working from home.
“Coronavirus Forces Culture Change in Real Estate,” blasts a recent headline in Realtor magazine. Sadly, the pandemic is causing a culture change in many industries.
One of these changes is the mandate to socially isolate. While many real estate agents would go out of business if they did a 100 percent social isolation, removing yourself from your broker’s office is a wise move.
We understand that there are many different scenarios that are taking place right now when it comes to working from home. In some areas, kids are out of school (presenting a huge challenge to the work-at-home agent), neighbors are home too, which in many cases turns a once-quiet neighborhood into a busy, noisy mess.
Barring the unique challenges, there are ways to get the start doing real estate work from home. It all starts with setting up your workspace.
Location, location, location
The location of your office within the home is critical, especially if the kids are out of school. Even when kids aren’t home, distractions abound when you’re trying to do your real estate work from home.
Site the office in the quietest area of the home, well-removed from the main traffic areas and most popular family-gathering spots.
Consider the neighbors as well. If Joe next door is using his time off to relive his teenage years by blasting music, ensure your office is on the other side of the home.
When you’re doing real estate work from home, pretend like you’re at the office
It’s tempting to go from your bed to your office and work the day away in your jammies.
“Take a shower and get dressed. Treat it like a real job,” suggests Barbara Larson, a professor of management at Northeastern University to Brian Lufkin at BBC.com.
It’s important that the rest of the family, friends and neighbors treat your real estate work from home like a “real job” as well. Set boundaries from the get-go. Here are some tactics other agents have suggested:
- “If the door is closed, I’m working.”
- “If I have my headphones on, please do not disturb me”
- “Just say ‘no.’ No I can’t pick up your child from school. No, I can’t wash your soccer jersey until I’m off work.”
The beauty of the typical real estate transaction is that from shopping for a home to closing can be performed electronically. It may take some time for certain clients to get the hang of it, but remind them that you’re doing your part to “flatten the curve,” and to get life back to normal as soon as possible.