Are you registered to vote? Is your voter registration information up to date? On November 3rd, make sure #RealtorsVote and support candidates who understand the issues important to the industry and issues that promote homeownership.

Why Should #RealtorsVote?

On Election Day, you’re not just voting on presidential candidates. Your vote will determine:

33 U.S. Senate Seats
435 U.S. House of Representatives Seats
20 Gubernatorial and Lieutenant Gubernatorial Seats
128 State Executive Office Seats across 28 states
95 Statewide Ballot Measures

TCAR 2020 Candidate Endorsements

TCAR is proud to announce the endorsements of the following candidates for the 2020 Election!

  • Brad KlippertState House – 8th Legislative District
  • Matt BoehnkeState House – 8th Legislative District
  • Perry Dozier State Senate – 16th Legislative District
  • Jerome Delvin Benton County Commissioner – District #1
  • Will McKay Benton County Commissioner – District #3
  • Rocky Mullen Franklin County Commissioner – District #2

TCAR evaluates candidates based on an interview process in which they are invited to share their views on issues that will affect the real estate community. Among the criteria TCAR looks for in a candidate for elected office is an understanding of the relationship between the real estate industry and our local economy and a passion for policies that will aid in the prosperous development of both businesses and communities. TCAR is confident these candidates will work hard to ensure property rights remain a top priority and that they will continue to support efforts for homeownership and economic growth in our area.

Get Involved

Get Out the Vote

Below REALTOR® Party Director, Pete Kopf, discusses the importance of getting out the vote this November, voter safety options, and the role REALTORS® can play as community leaders:

We have all experienced increased levels of stress over the COVID-19 shutdown, quarantine, and the impact on the economy. People who are normally able to find healthy ways to relieve stress such as exercise, yoga, mediation, cooking, are beginning to suffer quarantine-fatigue. These same stressors have impacted the predators in our society and we have seen an increase in some violent crimes as a result. For New York, murder is up more than 23% year over year for the first 6 months and burglaries are up more than 46% in the same period. And we have already seen an increased attack upon REALTORS®.

We previously thought that crimes against agents were random or opportunistic street crimes. As a result, we have geared our safety classes toward awareness and not focused on predatory behavior. With rare exception, the crimes against agents we have seen reported are predatory in nature and fit the classic predatory behavior patterns.

It is important for real estate professionals to have an understanding of the primary types of predators likely to target our industry, as well as the criminal’s pathologies and patterns.

The University of Texas at Austin has researched the behavioral differences between predators and thieves. Predators are motivated by power and control and their goal is to identify signals of weakness or vulnerability and attempt to isolate you. Once isolated, the predators will exploit their victims, often physically and mentally to satisfy their need for domination over another person.

There are a few simple habits to build into your customer/client interactions that could help deter a predator by removing the signals they are looking and substituting strong signals that you are not an appropriate victim profile, from the initial inquiry and subsequent contacts.

The initial inquiry is the first opportunity for you to set the tone and expectations for how you will safely conduct your business.

By using the property information and a polite, but firm professional demeanor, you will be able to work with legitimate customers/clients and may deter a predator.

At the initial inquiry:

“Thank you for inquiring on 123 Main St. It is one of our most popular listings. This home has plenty of windows accenting the natural sunlight.”

  • Identify property information that increases street visibility to give the perception that others can easily see in from outside. This “passive surveillance” by the neighborhood can serve as a deterrent. By identifying that others may be interested in the property, you have also indicated that other showings or agents may also be at the property.

“Instead of meeting at your requested time of 5 pm, we will meet at 5:30 pm.”

  • Even though you know that the 5 pm request can be accommodated by changing the time establishes power and control.

“We will have 15 minutes at the showing as the sellers will be returning at 5:45 pm.”

  • By setting expectations that appointments will be scheduled with only brief periods alone, potential predators may be deterred because they will not be able to isolate for long and may be interrupted by the sellers returning early.

At the showing:

You should have an empowered greeting. Prior to COVID-19, I would suggest while standing on a porch step reach down to greet the purchaser. During COVID-19, a greeting that includes a strong head nod with good eye contact will serve the same purpose. Psychologically, to the predator, you are not appearing weak or vulnerable as they are forced to look up at you.

Also prior to COVID 19, I would suggest that your greeting should include a good firm handshake as it is a universal sign of strength and assuredness which will again remove any perception of being weak or vulnerable.

Knowing that the goal of the predator is to isolate you, you should always bring a buddy when:

  • The property is vacant
  • There is poor cell service at the property
  • You have an uncomfortable feeling prior to the appointment
  • You haven’t closed a deal in a while as you may be too eager to make a deal and ignore the voice inside your head that something may be wrong

Always screen clients and customers following your company’s safety policy or protocol.

Adding these simple habits to your real estate practice you can deter potential predators and increase your chances of getting home safe.

David Legaz, a retired NYPD Sergeant is the NAR REALTOR® Safety Advisory Committee Chair, the Education Chairperson for the Beverly Carter Foundation, and the 2020 President-elect for the NYS Association of REALTORS®. He also co-authored an agent safety book named, “Safe Selling: A Practical Guide for Preventing Crime without Sacrificing the Sale,” which can be downloaded at www.SafeSellingBook.com

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Your sellers may be nervous to have buyers physically in their homes amid a global pandemic. Nearly 30% of real estate professionals say their sellers have expressed concern about the risks of COVID-19 infection from in-person showings, according to HomeLight’s latest Top Agent Insights Report. Six percent of agents say their buyers have expressed similar concerns, the survey shows.

To ease these concerns, it’s important to emphasize cleanliness and sanitization when working with clients—a critical talking point and marketing tactic that will remain relevant following the pandemic, says Debbie Sardone, an expert with SpeedCleaning.com. “We’ve often viewed cleaning as a luxury in having a home looking, feeling, and smelling good,” Sardone says. “But everything has changed since the pandemic. More than ever, we’re all realizing that cleaning plays an essential role in public health. Real estate professionals need to explore how they can help put buyers’ and sellers’ minds at ease as guests come into homes.”

What’s more, real estate pros need to communicate the extra steps they’ve taken to safeguard properties against infection risks. “It’s one thing to sanitize, but if you don’t tell others, its benefits in easing concerns is lost,” Sardone adds. Here are some ways real estate professionals are helping to fight the fears of COVID-19.

Have a Sanitation Plan

Work out a cleaning system with your sellers prior to any showings. Sardone has a disinfecting checklist available on her website that outlines high-touch areas in a home to clean prior to each showing. You can even customize the checklist with your logo and show buyers what has been done to prepare the home in advance.

Sardone also offers her “Speed Cleaning Safe Rule of 3” to print and hand to sellers and post for buyers to view. Sardone’s “Rule of 3” consists of:

  1. Clean then zap. Clean a surface first with an all-purpose cleaner to remove dirt and gunk, and then follow it up with an EPA-registered disinfectant.
  2. Spray and stay. Read the instructions on the disinfectant to see the dwell time it needs to remain on the surface to kill viruses and bacteria before wiping it away. Many disinfectants need at least 90 seconds to kill viruses but some may need up to 10 minutes to kill bacteria.
  3. Once and done. Use an area on a cleaning towel only one time. Use another part of the towel or rag to keep cleaning other surfaces. Sardone stresses: Do not clean multiple surfaces with the same towel. Flip it to the other side to prevent spreading bad germs. For sanitizing wipes, use it once on a surface and then toss.

Promote the Steps You’ve Taken

Many homes are being promoted on the MLS with highlights about how they are sanitized before each in-person showing. A $950,000 listing in Reston, Va., which was recently sold, contained the following message in the property description: “For everyone’s safety, this house has been sanitized before listing. If you have traveled out of the country in the last 90 days, have been around somebody that has had COVID-19 (confirmed or not), or if you have a fever please refrain from entering the home. Please limit touching surfaces as much as possible.”

For buyers who didn’t meet the criteria or didn’t want to go inside the home, the listing offered a virtual tour of the property.

You also may want to promote the measures you take for listings on your social media channels.

Limit Guests at the Home

Make sure only serious buyers and those who are symptom-free enter the home. For example, some real estate professionals have started to ask their buyers to fill out a form in advance of showings that verifies they do not have any known symptoms of COVID-19 and haven’t been in contact with anyone who has the virus. The National Association of REALTORS® says in its COVID-19 transaction guidance that the use of such buyer questionnaires is “reasonable to screen individuals for COVID-19 prior to showing an individual property, but be sure to require all individuals to complete the questionnaire to avoid fair housing issues.” NAR also cautions that self-reporting offers somewhat limited assurance, since some individuals with the virus are asymptomatic.

Some real estate professionals also are requiring buyers to get preapproved or prequalified by a lender before they view a home in person. This can help limit showings to the most serious buyers who are prepared to make a purchase.

Take Extra Precautions During the Tour

Set up a germ-free zone as guests enter the front door. Here are some ways to do it:

Set up a sanitation station. Encourage all guests to wash their hands at a sanitation station, which you should set up at the front doorstep. Seventy-one percent of real estate professionals say offering a hand sanitation station will be a key hygiene measure they’ll adopt for showings for the foreseeable future, according to the HomeLight survey. Also, have hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol available at all entry or exit points of a home. If you want to add your business logo or some other flair that speaks to who you are as a trusted real estate professional, you can even customize a hand sanitizing station with HandStand, and the REALTOR® Team Store has a made-to-order station with the REALTOR® logo.

Keep your hands to yourself. Your goal should be to reduce the need for visitors to touch surfaces in the seller’s home. A good way to try and make showings as contactless as possible is to ask sellers to open all interior doors—including closets and cabinets—and turn on all lights before leaving the property. This will help eliminate some high-touch points during a showing. Fifty-five percent of agents say they’ve already made this a part of their hygiene protocols for showings, according to the HomeLight survey.

Remove your shoes, or disinfect them. You may want to require all visitors to remove their shoes, or—if you’re uncomfortable asking that of people—offer disposable shoe covers and booties at the door. Forty-four percent of agents say they plan to provide shoe covers, while 30% say they will require shoes to be removed prior to stepping into a home, according to the HomeLight survey. Some companies are even exploring high-tech solutions to germ-free feet: One company called Shuzon—which is currently raising funds on Kickstarter to come to market—is touting an antibacterial doormat. It’s a two-sided doormat that claims to sanitize shoe soles. One side dispenses a cleaning solvent, and the other side is dry and removes any excess liquid.

Give out masks. Offer up personalized personal protective equipment for your home tours. Judy Rowe, a broker with Mike Thomas Associates, REALTORS®, in Angola, Ind., began making masks not only for her brokerage but also other real estate pros to use during home showings. She launched RealtyMasks.com, offering agents their own branded masks that they could give to their clients. Her tagline: “Spread your brand, not the virus.” (She sells quantities of 10 to 49 customized masks for $16 each.)

With these measures, “others will be able to see that you’re making an effort, and that might help buyers to let down their guard enough to view and experience the house more comfortably,” Sardone says. “They won’t have to enter the home wondering how clean this or that is. It’ll change the perception as they view the home, and it’ll show that the seller and real estate agent went that extra mile for their safety.”

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