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Coronavirus in Oklahoma: Online dispatches from the front lines (of home sales in Oklahoma City)

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Don't be fooled by any stiff upper lips: The new coronavirus is hitting real estate agents where it hurts, in home showings and open houses.

The decision to stay home rather than show houses is a hard one, even though digital communication makes it possible to do in absentia.

Oklahoma City agents talked about it all week on Facebook, of course, and the conversations seemed to get more somber as the effects and responses to COVID-19 worsened.

Those just starting out in the business could be in for an especially tough time, one pointed out.

"I have seen several posts about not showing houses during this and staying home, etc.," she said. "I totally agree and feel the more people that stay home the quicker this goes away. BUT ... My mind also goes to my first years in real estate.

"I was a single mom with a young baby that was in day care. Even after my first few closings and completely depleting my savings to make my dream work, I struggled. So for those folks who have clawed and fought for this to work, my heart goes out to you. I know you can’t afford to take 2+ weeks out of showing homes and holding open houses. I just hope if you are showing you are taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others."

Another agent posted the obvious question Friday morning: "So how is everybody treating business right now? Are you doing showings, avoiding showings? I have showings scheduled tomorrow and really torn as to what to do."

The comments were a sampling of thoughts, concerns and approaches from the front lines of home sales:

• "I would not and if your people are offended, let them be."

• "I’m doing a FaceTime listing appointment today."

• "I am doing video walk-through for one buyer today that is at risk, and showings tomorrow for another buyer, but I have inquired their status and both of us will be wearing gloves. Using FaceTime and video as much as possible."

• "Went yesterday but probably not for awhile."

• "I struggled with this, too, but I have buyers on a short timeline. Here's what I came up with: I’ll have hand sanitizer and wipes with me. We’ll use them before and after each house. I’ll bring gloves to wear inside so they can open doors and cabinets. Then put them into a Ziplock (sic) once we leave. I usually have printouts for each house. For now, I’ll email a set to the buyer in advance and they can either access on their device or print at home."

• "Only with buyers who need to be under contract soon."

• "I am still showing, but will ask people if they have traveled in the last 14 days, if they have any symptoms or a fever. And then use hand sanitizer and don’t get too close to them. But you will be touching a lot of light switches and door knobs that other people might have just touched as well. Maybe take a Clorox wipe to wipe down the lock boxes ... or use gloves (but I don’t have any)."

• "I did a video showing and a live showing today. Wore rubber gloves and the homes were both vacant."

• "I am probably going to back off personally meeting/showing anyone not immediately ready to buy."

Be safe, y'all.

Email Real Estate Editor Richard Mize at rmize@oklahoman.com.

Richard Mize

Real estate editor Richard Mize has edited The Oklahoman's weekly residential real estate section and covered housing, commercial real estate, construction, development, finance and related business since 1999. From 1989 to 1999, he worked... Read more ›

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