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From Virtual Open Houses to Focus Forums, How DC Brokerages are Maintaining Physical Distance

by Nena Perry-Brown

A condo on the market in DC.

Post-COVID data clearly demonstrates a drop in showings of active real estate listings in the DC area, but part of that drop is intentional as brokerages in the region adapt to physical distancing recommendations. 

"We are following CDC guidelines," TTR Sotheby's International Realty CEO Mark Lowham explained to UrbanTurf. "We have stopped open houses and now offer houses open by FaceTime tour or by appointment only. Our brokerage administrative staff is operating from home. We have asked our associates to use our offices only by appointment so that the brokerage manager can be on-site to ensure the office is cleaned before and after any visit."

Lowham wrote a blog post last week about how the DC-area market could shift in response to the pandemic. "We continue to monitor everything in real time, and we expect to make further revisions to our operating policies in the days and weeks ahead."

Things are operating similarly at Compass. Principal broker Holly Worthington shared that Compass employees have been working from home for two weeks and that the brokerage is holding daily calls with agents to check in and compare notes. Agents have also stopped holding open houses, and while unoccupied properties can be shown (with sanitizer and soap at hand), Compass is recommending that no in-person showings be conducted of occupied properties.   

"Our biggest focus is on keeping our agents and our clients healthy by holding virtual meetings and showings," Worthington shared. The virtual tour option has become such a point of emphasis that, twice per week, agents upload virtual tours they take to a spreadsheet where the videos are shared among smaller groups to compare feedback on condition and pricing.

"This is especially helpful in this market since things are changing day by day," Worthington explains. "Properties are still selling, but we expect that to slow down significantly if we are asked to shelter in place."

McWilliams|Ballard vice president Robbie Cook shares the outlook that there are still home purchases to be made.

"Based on our traffic and sales data from last week and weekend, we know that there are still buyers in the Washington, DC market, so we're working on ways to make sure potential prospects are engaged, even if they're stuck inside their homes."

One-on-one tours are available at each of the McWilliams|Ballard's active projects, and each also has a tour option that uses software to virtually walk prospective buyers through the units. The brokerage also just unrolled a "Virtual Open House" that uses video conferencing, allowing agents to accept walk-in tours similarly to how they would be conducted in person. A unit sold yesterday solely with a virtual walk-through.

Photo courtesy of HomeVisit.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/from-virtual-open-houses-to-focus-forums-how-dc-brokerages-are-maintaining-/16653

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Looking to Give People A Reason to Stay Past 6pm
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Happily Straddling the Line Between City and Suburb
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Arlington’s Neglected Stepchild is Getting a Makeover
Crystal City
Turning Lemons into Lemonade
Lyon Village
Developing An Air of Exclusivity?
Rosslyn
Hitting Its Growth Spurt
Shirlington
An Urban Village Hitting Its Stride
Del Ray
Virginia’s Small Town Near the Big City
Eisenhower Avenue
The Vibrancy Might Take a Few Years
Huntington
The Quiet Neighborhood By the Beltway
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Parkfairfax
132 Commerical-Free Acres
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Staying the Same in the Midst of Change
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Radical Change Could Be On The Way

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Small-Town Living in the State Capital
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Bedroom Community Gets Buzzing Cache
Cabin John
In With The New While Maintaining the Old
Chevy Chase
Affluence, Green Lawns and Pricey Homes
Downtown Silver Spring
Experiencing a Resurgence After a Bumpy History
Potomac
A Suburb on Steroids
Rockville Town Square
Despite the Dynamism, Still Somewhat Generic
Takoma Park
More Than a Little Bit Quirky
Wheaton
A Foodie Magnet on the Verge of Change
Capitol Heights
Kudzu, Front Porches and Crime
Hyattsville
Glass Half Full or Half Empty?
Mount Rainier
Artists, Affordable Homes and A Silo Full of Corn
National Harbor
A Development Rises Next to the Potomac
Riverdale Park
A Town Looking For Its Identity

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DC's Sleeper Neighborhood
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Where (Almost) Everyone Knows Your Name
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One of DC’s Last Frontiers Before the Suburbs
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DC’s Northern Neighborhood on the Cusp
Burleith
DC’s 535 House Neighborhood
Cathedral Heights
Do You Know Where That Is?
Chevy Chase DC
Not to Be Confused With the Other Chevy Chase
Cleveland Park
Coming Back After A Rough Year
Columbia Heights
DC’s Most Diverse Neighborhood, But For How Long?
Crestwood
An Island of Serenity East of the Park
Dupont Circle
The Best of DC (For a Price)
Foggy Bottom & West End
Where the Institutional Meets the International
Forest Hills
Ambassadors and Adventurous Architecture
Foxhall Village
350 Homes Just West of Georgetown
Friendship Heights
A Shopping Mecca With a Few Places to Live
Georgetown
History, Hoyas and H&M
Glover Park
One of DC’s Preppier and More Family-Friendly Neighborhoods
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A Posh View From Embassy Row
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Trendy Now, But Not By Accident
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Sought-After Homes Surround Main Street in Transition
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From Seedy to Sought-After
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It’s Not Petworth
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DC’s Go-Go-Go Neighborhood
Petworth
Getting a Vibrancy of Its Own
Shaw
The Duke’s Former Stomping Ground
Shepherd Park
DC’s Garden of Diversity
Spring Valley
A Suburb With a DC Zip Code
Takoma
Not To Be Confused With Takoma Park
Tenleytown
Not Quite Like Its Neighbors
U Street Corridor
The Difference a Decade Makes
Woodley Park
Deceptively Residential
Adams Morgan
No Longer DC’s Hippest Neighborhood, But Still Loved by Residents

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Profiles of 10 neighborhoods in NE

Brookland
New Development Could Shake Up Pastoral Peace
Deanwood
A Little Bit of Country Just Inside the District’s Borders
Eckington
Not to Be Confused With Bloomingdale
Fort Totten
Five Years Could Make a Big Difference
H Street
A Place To Party, and To Settle Down
Langdon
The Northeast Neighborhood That Few Know About
Michigan Park
A Newsletter-On-Your-Doorstep Community
NoMa
Evolving from a Brand to a Neighborhood
Rosedale
Ripe for Investment Right About Now
Trinidad
The Difference 5 Years Makes
Woodridge
Big Houses, A Dusty Commercial Strip and Potential

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Still Growing
Hill East
Capitol Hill’s Lesser Known Neighbor
Congress Heights
Gradually Rising
Hillcrest
Notable for Its Neighborliness
Historic Anacostia
Future Promise Breeds Cautious Optimism
Eastern Market
A More European Way of Living

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