Let’s face it, as a REALTOR® and real estate professional you have to be ready to go at all times.
And in a world reshaped by COVID-19, not only do you have to be prepared professionally, but you need to be conscious about your health and what personal protective equipment (PPE) you’ll need.
Chances are something like this has happened to you: It’s early evening and you’re paying for your groceries when suddenly your smartphone rings. It’s a client of yours and they want to discuss buying a home… now! The market is hot, and they’re eager to make an offer, but are you ready to represent yourself or your business in that moment?
“I would say I always leave my house with my satchel, which has everything I need for an impromptu meeting,” says Josh MacKenzie, a sales agent with Keller Williams Complete Niagara Realty.
Rachael Polakovic, of Agency Real Estate in London, Ontario, says, “I’d say the No. 1 thing I don’t leave home without is toys or snacks to entertain kids while the adults are talking. I always have little G.I. Joe action figures or trinkets to help keep them occupied.”
Obviously, these are business-related examples from before the pandemic. The most important items you can bring with you now, wherever you go, are face coverings, gloves, cleaning supplies and of course hand sanitizer.
Having said all that, what are some essentials you should have with you wherever you go? We’ve got you covered.
PPE: This one should go without saying these days, but before meeting with anyone, make sure your face and nose are covered with an acceptable mask or face covering and keep hand sanitizer with you in your bag or vehicle’s glove box. Always stay stocked and don’t be afraid to offer the person your meeting with some hand sanitizer or a mask, should they not have one themselves. Other items such as clear face shields and gloves can also be considered when meeting with clients, too.
Cell phone/tablet: “It’s glued to my hip,” Mackenzie says. The smartphone is essential for storing contacts easily, sending quick updates to clients, and of course, checking how your listings are doing with the REALTOR.ca Listing Stats app. In fact, some REALTORS®, like Polakovic, can do business using nothing but her iPad. “I have the Apple Pen, too, so signatures can be done right on the spot. I have every form preloaded so I can close a deal right there,” she says. “Also, don’t forget about the chargers!”
Laptop: For those who like an actual keyboard and a larger screen for all their open browser tabs, the laptop is an essential tool, especially when you have some down time in between appointments and need to get some work done. Some REALTORS® also believe it makes them look more professional, just make sure your computer is an updated model that doesn’t still have a floppy disk drive or sounds like it’s about to take off when powering on.
Notepad/organizer: There’s nothing like putting pen to paper. Making to-do lists, writing down reminders, jotting addresses and dates—sometimes the old-fashioned way is the best way to remind yourself of things you have to do and places you have to be. “When I’m talking on the phone, I have a hard time remembering details of the conversation. That’s why a notepad is essential,” MacKenzie says.
Camera/drone: This one may not fit into every REALTOR®’s lifestyle, but for those budding sales agents who don’t use a professional photographer to shoot their listings, consider keeping a semi-professional camera at the ready, preferably one with a wide angle lens to capture all of what each room has to offer.
Shovel/rock salt: We live in Canada and so snowstorms are inevitable and sometimes you’re left trying to sell a vacant home. The last thing you want is to have clients trying to get to the front door in knee-deep snow with a 10-centimetre layer of ice underneath.
Business cards/real estate license: “This one is huge,” Polakovic says. Depending on the type of day she’s having, she says she can easily go through dozens of business cards. And the last thing you want is to have a client questioning your legitimacy.
Measuring tape: “Some listings I see don’t have measurements for every room in the house,” Mackenzie says. That’s why he comes prepared to every open house by bringing his own measuring tape.
For sale signs: Although Mackenzie admits he hires someone to put in his signs now, it wasn’t long ago he was out there with a sledgehammer doing the dirty work himself. “It sucked in the cold or trying to fight with hard ground, but a for sale sign is a badge we all need to show.”
Spare clothes: You’d hate to show up to a business meeting in gym clothes or right after your kid decided to throw spaghetti all over the place at dinner. Having an extra top, pair of pants and shoes stowed away in a backpack could be the difference between making a deal or a dealbreaker.
Cosmetics: Sometimes life will throw you an errant coffee stain or a humidity factor that sends your hair into a frizzy tizzy. Be prepared! Polakovic has deodorant in her glove box, because, as she says, “hey, you never know. We work close with clients, and if it’s a hot day and you’ve done a lot of running around, you want to make sure you smell nice.” Other essentials in this category include a Tide to Go pen, hairbrush and any makeup you might need.
Thermos: Let’s face it, you can’t always get to a coffee shop to get your caffeine fix when you’re on the go. Fill up a 30-oz. thermos with your favourite brew-at-home blend and stay hydrated and caffeinated throughout the day.
Snacks: What’s worse than a packed schedule with no time to eat? Keep some granola bars or high-protein snacks in your bag to keep you from feeling famished. Pro tip: foods that don’t melt into the packaging are better suited for those long, hot, summer days.
While information related to the efforts to mitigate the outbreak of COVID-19 is constantly evolving, we recommend REALTORS® follow the guidelines and precautions set by Canada’s public health authorities and local public health officials. See Health Canada’s website for comprehensive coverage.