Monday, December 4, 2023

Chill out: 7 ways to keep agents (and listings) safe from the heat

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Bread baking in mailboxes. Eggs frying on sidewalks. Day after day of record-breaking temperatures.

For some, the extreme heat is nothing more than a minor inconvenience. Yes, utility bills are higher. No, you probably won’t be drinking your coffee out on the deck. Yet, for real estate agents, the heat can be downright dangerous.

According to the Harvard Business Review, lost productivity and health challenges are among the dangers the current heat wave poses to agents and brokerages. Whether you’re an individual agent, a team leader or a broker, it’s essential to make sure you’re prepared to do business under these extreme circumstances. Here’s how.

Pay attention to the weather forecast

If you’re used to getting up in the morning and heading out without paying much mind to the weather, it’s time to change your ways. Check the weather forecast for the day and week ahead, and keep it in mind when you’re planning your day and choosing your wardrobe. Wear a hat and sunscreen, and try to schedule office time for the middle of the day so that you’re out and about either early or late.

Rethink planned activities

If you’re used to outdoor workouts, it’s probably time to switch to the gym. If you normally fire up the oven at dinnertime or if your hobby is baking, you’ll probably want to keep the oven off as much as possible. If you’re doing yard work or gardening, try to aim for early morning or evening to take advantage of the marginally cooler temperatures.

Adjust lead-gen strategies

This is probably not the time to walk your geographic farm and door knock. Consider stepping up direct mail and cold-calling instead. Open houses often take place during the hottest part of the day. Consider moving them to an earlier or later time and make sure you keep plenty of water on hand for attendees. 

What to make a big impression? Consider sponsoring an ice cream truck for your open house or for your target neighborhood as a keep-cool treat.

Make sure everyone stays hydrated

Remind your agents to stay hydrated. Consider providing filtered water, a water cooler or water bottles in your office. Don’t just keep them in the break room; set up a beverage station in the lobby so that agents and clients can have a cool drink when they first arrive.

Scope out alternative meeting places

If you’re out and about with buyers, you may be used to standing around in the driveway of the listings you’re viewing discussing their merits and drawbacks. Minimize outdoor exposure by retreating to a nearby coffee shop or juice bar so that you can cool down while you talk. Take copious notes and phone photos so that you can help your clients remember what they liked and didn’t like about the homes they toured.

Be sure to talk to your seller clients about where they’re going during open houses and showings, especially if they’re taking their pets with them. Make space in your office available if needed so that they have a safe and cool place to wait while their home is being shown.

Keep a closer eye on listings

This is not the time to ignore your listings, especially if they’re vacant. Make sure that someone from your office is regularly checking to ensure that the air conditioning is working properly and that the homes are staying relatively cool. 

Consider leaving ceiling fans running to keep air stirring, and keep blinds and curtains drawn except when you’re actually showing the home. You’ll also want to see what type of toll the heat is taking on the lawn and arrange for irrigation as needed, always remembering to comply with local regulations and restrictions regarding outdoor watering.

Consider staging for summer

If you have a listing or two held over from the spring market, it might be time to lighten it up and cool it down for summer buyers. Consider adding a large umbrella to the deck for shelter from the sun. Replace heavy drapes and textiles with summerweight linen or cotton curtains. Store heavy throw blankets away and minimize clutter to give a fresh look to the space that’s more appealing this time of year.

While you don’t have to go into hiding, it’s smart to be aware and mindful of the toll that extreme heat can take on people and places. Keep yourself and those who depend on you safe by taking a few common-sense precautions.

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