The coronavirus outbreak has completely reshaped the mentality of Americans who were looking to buy and sell homes this year. Above all, they want to know:
Can I still put my house on the market or view properties right now? Is there a safe way to do this? Who can I trust to protect my health and the health of my loved ones throughout this process?
In response, San Francisco-based real estate platform HomeLight introduced its Move Safe Certification program. HomeLight Move Safe identifies real estate agents who are using the best tools, technology, and practices to keep clients safe in a COVID-19 world. The certification works alongside the company’s flagship Agent Matching service, which to date has connected over a half a million buyers and sellers with top real estate agents nationwide since 2012.
“We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from agents who see the certification as a way to demonstrate what a safe transaction looks like right now and the specific steps they’re taking to adapt,” said HomeLight founder and CEO Drew Uher. “I’ve been impressed with how agents on our platform are rising to this occasion and working tirelessly and creatively to meet clients’ evolving needs.”
To qualify for the program, agents can log into their agent portal and take HomeLight’s 3-minute questionnaire inquiring about the specific ways they’ve adapted their business to current circumstances. Agents who qualify receive a “Move Safe Certified” badge on their public agent profile with HomeLight. Buyers and sellers who use HomeLight’s service will be able to see whether an agent is certified as they’re introduced to their agent matches in the platform.
Some protocols will be required to unlock the certification. These include, among other items:
- The ability to meet clients virtually
- Ensuring the house is clean for showings
- Using an e-sign platform for the transfer and signature of disclosures, offers, and closings (where possible)
- Limiting showings to serious buyers
- Providing a baseline online presence for listings
Other “Move Safe” offerings that are suggested (but not required) will appear as a bonus on the agent’s profile page. These may include virtual staging capabilities, aerial photography options, the use of a coronavirus addendum in their purchase agreements, and more.
As part of the program, HomeLight will help agents identify and add capabilities and adopt best practices so that they can qualify for the certification and, in turn, better serve their clients.
Agents will also have the ability to come back and update their responses. That means if agents don’t qualify for the certification based on their existing practices and offerings, they’ll have the opportunity to make necessary changes so that they do.
“The safety of our clients and valued agent partners will always be paramount,” said Uher. “We’re committed to helping HomeLight clients buy and sell safely during COVID-19, and we’re prepared to refer them to the agents who are best equipped to serve them during these uniquely challenging times.”