In these difficult times, the average business is having to cope with a significant shift in office life – to wit, no office life at all. Which means no donuts.
Since offices are closed and most everyone is on a Sit. Stay! order at home, outside contact is limited to email, phone call/text and, yes, the Zoom meeting.
For those unfamiliar, Zoom is an app that unites team members on the web. Each member “joins” the meeting by tapping into the app feed on a laptop, desktop or smart phone, and the camera on each member’s device puts them onscreen with others in a sort of Brady Bunch/Hollywood Squares format. Which sounds fun but is mostly awkward.
Each member has a microphone that when enabled, allows audio participation. There is also a chat feature for those who prefer to contribute in writing.
Sounds like a perfect, even elegant substitute for the office meeting.
Let’s compare the two.
Office meeting attire: Business casual is the minimum. Dress as you would to meet a client. Collared shirts, slacks. Maybe a blazer. Hair neatly coiffed.
Zoom meeting attire: Dress as you would if you had been out drinking the night before. And possibly the night before that. Bathrobe from a previous decade, pants optional since no one can see below the waist anyway. Hair smushed.
Office meeting refreshments: Office provided donuts or bagels, hot coffee or tea. Bottled water.
Zoom refreshments: Last night’s pizza, something in a mug. Could be coffee. Or not.
Office meeting participation: Leader shares sales figures and trends, each member contributes a report, insight or helpful comment. Phones are silenced.
Zoom meeting participation: Leader is heroically leading, sharing a power point presentation. One member participating via Iphone has forgotten she has enabled her camera so the rest of the group is now looking at a giant ear. Four members are Doing Something Else Entirely, one is talking on his phone, one is making a meme for Facebook that is inadvertently shared with the group, one has posted a Glamour Shots photo of herself instead of activating her camera, and finally, one is talking to his dog and has failed to mute his microphone, so the audio begins with the leader saying, ”Sales figures are down about 2 percent from last month” and ends with “Who’s a Good Boy?! Where’s your squeaky? Get your squeaky!”
Office meeting adjournment: Leader gives out assignments. Members ask thoughtful questions and the agenda is set for the next meeting.
Zoom meeting adjournment: Leader is attempting to give out assignments and kudos. Several members are laughing at the unauthorized meme, three already left the meeting physically, but failed to turn off their cameras, which are now displaying two empty chairs and one with a dog on it. The Glamour Shot stays up but it appears the member never actually attended the meeting. The meeting ends at 9:45 am. Cameras are shut off. Only the giant ear is left. “Hey, guys? Guys? Helllooooo?”
Principal Broker | REALTOR
RE/MAX Equity Group
It’s time for something nice to arrive in your mailbox. Starbucks coffee, Subway sandwiches or dinner at Red Robin. Yes! It could happen to YOU!
Just refer your friends to me and I’ll not only take great care of them as they shop for a house or market their houses with me, but I will send You a gift card for something delicious, too!
Is that a great deal or what?!
There’s never been a weirder time to buy or sell a house.
But sell and buy, we are!
Let’s begin with buying. Think of it like online dating — a lot more work done in front of the computer than in front of the house itself. A little more scrolling, a little less strolling around houses for a personal look-see.
In addition, there will be more qualifying. Buyers who aren’t pre-approved for a mortgage will likely not have much luck actually seeing the insides of houses since showings are being limited and open houses eliminated entirely. If you’re a serious buyer, call a local mortgage guru and get approved before attempting this market. Think of this like you would a pre-dating background search — just making sure you’re, well, reputable, right?
Most searches begin with the listing service search – it’s something your Realtor (that would be me) will set up for you, so that you’ll receive an email every time there is a property that fits your requirements and budget. This part isn’t new. Because there is so little on market currently, I may also network with partners to see what properties might be coming soon, or available without being advertised. Either way, you’ll get details on each property and photos you can expand on your screen and study thoroughly.
Additionally, instead of making a showing appointment after seeing photos, you’ll take a look at a virtual walk-through or 3-D tour. One of the obvious deficits in our usual video offerings is the ability to portray the floor plan. The new tours actually tour the house for you. Look good? Great, let’s move on.
Next step: Background search. Your Realtor (yes, me again) will provide data on zoning, land-use restrictions and CCRs so any deal-breakers associated with those issues can be eliminated before any physical tour is attempted.
Lastly, permission to stalk. Yes, stalk at will. Drive by the house, investigate the neighborhood, time the commute to work, the walking distance to schools or commercial areas. Knock yourself out. Just don’t actually knock on the door!
If everything comes up aces, we negotiate a date with your future house. This will be a no-hands date! No touching! We observe sanitation like a 1950s personal hygiene movie. Clean, freshly sanitized hands, shoe covers. Maybe a mask. I will open doors for you and sanitize everything on our way back out, finishing with the front doorknob and lockbox.
Please do not bring children into the house unless you are able to carry them or they are old enough that the “keep your hands to yourself” adage can be reliably followed. So, most kids, that’s 10 and up. Other kids, it’s 26. You be the judge. If you are wrong, I reserve the right to duct tape the child’s arms to his sides.
Done? Ok, return home and Rate Your Date!
Let’s imagine you make a deal with the seller. What about inspection? Inspection is negotiated so that as few people as possible are in the house. Ideally, this means the inspector via Zoom/Facetime, who will sanitize his or her way out of the house as we did.
Sellers are facing significant changes in showing routines as well. It is still like preparing for a date that only your house actually attends, only with that 1950s personal hygiene twist.
It still needs to look good and smell good but it also must be Sanitized for the Buyer’s Protection. This assumes the buyer will be handsy even though he Should be on his best behavior. It’s never wrong to assume bad manners! So, sanitize doorknobs and countertops. Leave all interior doors ajar and all lights on so that there is little or no need for folks to use their hands.
Do not leave treats for buyers, either in the form of drink bottles or snacks. In normal times, it’s a nice touch. In a pandemic, it’s a germ-management debacle.
Most importantly, do not be the awkward third wheel on this date. Let your house flash its window sashes at the buyer in some privacy. Besides, maintaining the approved distance can be challenging.
When you arrive home, sanitize beginning at the front doorknob as if the buyer’s agent didn’t just do it. Again, if you assume bad manners, you’ll never be disappointed!
If you are ill or immuno-compromised, you can bet that your agent will halt your home search/sale until the crisis is over! Don’t worry! We’ll find something
Your cable is down.
You have spent the better part of an hour sitting on hold, waiting for your service provider to help you. You finally give up and hang up, try again later for the same result.
It’s a scenario that repeats every time you have a major provider – cable, wireless, Internet service – and you Actually Need customer service for technical issues, billing issues, you name it.
This handy little website allows you a real-time look into the goings-on of various big-name providers, providing you the number of minutes on hold you will wait to reach a Human, short cuts for common requests, the best time to call for the quickest service and, blessedly, a cheat sheet for reaching a human in the fewest possible button-presses.
It is a beautiful thing.
Use it wisely, Grasshopper.