Last Thursday’s snowstorm was a day spent at home for many. Most New York City companies told employees — both local residents and those who commute from outside the city — to prioritize safety and work from home.
For real estate agents, however, the call of whether to leave their houses or not came from clients. If a client wanted to see an apartment that day, we grabbed our snow boots.
Several years ago, I had a vacant townhouse listing. I had a showing scheduled for the morning after a major snowstorm hit. I assumed the couple, who lived in New Jersey, would cancel, but to my surprise, they didn’t.
Being prepared in less than ideal weather conditions is of utmost importance. Here are a few helpful tips on how to prepare for such a situation.
1. First and foremost, check the weather forecast.
This seems like an obvious one, but even if snow isn’t in the forecast, single-digit temperatures should still have you making sure the windows in the vacant apartment you’re going to show are shut.
Clients don’t want to spend time in a freezing apartment.
2. Think ahead of time about who will clear the path, literally.
If you’re showing an apartment in a building, you can assume the building maintenance will have the steps and sidewalk shoveled.
In my situation with the townhouse, I had to make a run to several hardware stores in search of a shovel.
They were all sold out and I ended up using a broom to sweep the steps and clear the sidewalk as best as I could. Be prepared — a shovel that day would have saved me a lot of time and energy.
I had to make a run to several hardware stores in search of a shovel.
3. Implement a convenient ‘no shoes policy’
Many people do this anyway when showing an apartment, so as not to scuff the floors.
On a snow day or day after a storm, this should be a must.
The key to this tip is to make the process convenient. There should be a chair by the door, so people can comfortably remove their shoes or boots without having to balance themselves in the hall.
Also, shoe covers are a great alternative for those absolutely opposed to taking off their shoes, as well as for those not wearing the best of socks.
Have an area where they can neatly place their shoes, wet umbrellas and other winter gear.
4. Think about your socks.
On that note, agents — don’t ever wear socks with holes in them on a day you’re with clients!
You never know when you’ll have to take your shoes off.
5. Give yourself, and your buyers, extra time.
As every New Yorker knows, getting around the city on a beautiful day is hard enough.
A snowstorm or blizzard makes it even harder.
Give yourself and your clients extra time when scheduling showings. Go an extra step and call a car service or driver for the day, even if this isn’t a multimillion dollar deal.
It makes getting around the city easier, and the clients are always grateful.