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Anthony: Stop in-fighting my friends. This is not a time for us realtors to be throwing each other down and to be nitpicking each other all over Facebook. I want to talk to you guys about this because I’m very concerned that if we’re going to make our industry look horrible. I’m here to talk to you guys about different things related to agents staying busy, agents showing homes, agents listing homes, and the most famous word right now open houses.

I’m fascinated by how some agents are taking this opportunity in our history, in our time here to make themselves look better on Facebook or look better in some public forum by hurting someone else. That’s not necessary. It violates our code of ethics, it isn’t the right way to act and it isn’t the right way to act during this time. I just had a company meeting with everybody. I went live for 45 minutes. One of the things that I said to everyone is we all need to remember that everyone has different wants and different needs.

At our company, we decided in the last couple of days that we are going to make it known that our strong recommendation is not to have open houses, certainly not in the traditional sense. We got that message out to all our staff and all our realtors. Well, two agents, two great agents each had a seller who absolutely insisted on them doing open houses. One of them literally said to the agent, “No, no. Not only I want to list, I need an open house this weekend because I have to sell immediately.” The agent talked to them about it and talked to them about how we can still do it but we’re going to control the traffic, blah, blah, blah. Seller went along with it, the seller calms down a little bit.

Here’s what I want to talk to you guys about. You’ve got to remember that we realtors have a fiduciary duty to clients. The realtors out there that are out there grandstanding saying, “I can’t believe that anybody would be doing an open house. I can’t believe any company will do an open house,” hang on, think a little bit. It’s not easy unless it comes from the government, which frankly part of me wishes it just would because that would get us all off the hook and put everybody on an even playing field, but that hasn’t happened yet. The city of Worcester did do it but it hasn’t happened in a broad way everywhere else. There are sellers who insist on it. We talked to our agents a week ago and I recommended to all of you when I said to all of you when I went live on Wednesday. I did an extensive life that was 45 minutes.

I said to you guys make sure to tell your sellers that delaying two or three weeks’ listing will not put them in a bad position. It will not. I also talked to you guys about how this is not a time for sales. None of us should be trying to sell a buyer, sell a seller, force somebody to go on the market, push somebody into buying a home, absolutely not. We need to be there for our clients.

What we also need to do is make sure that we’re not throwing one another down. I’ve heard some people. I’ve heard about different meetings that have happened in the last few days. I’ve heard of all comments on Facebook from one realtor to another, from another company to another company not connected to ours. I’ve heard about some people mentioning things about me. Many different things that I’ve heard. My ask of all of us realtors is not to start acting crazy and talking bad about one another. Remember, that we have fiduciary duties.

If we as a whole recommend to sellers, “Hey, you know what, an open house in the traditional sense is really not a good idea right now.” What we would do instead is let people come over and then we would stop them outside and bring them through the home in groups of maybe two, three, or four asking them not to touch things, asking them not to open doors and cabinets, and all kinds of things and leaving right after that. If we all act that way and do block showings one of the phrases that I’ve coined was showing blocks with controlled traffic. Showing blocks with controlled traffic. In my opinion, those are better.

Getting back to what I was saying. If we all message that to our clients, we’re going to be better off. I understand them were in a competitive business, and people compete. Many realtors have a feeling of, “Well, geez, if I don’t do it then that other agent’s going to get the listing and I want the listing.” People have to remember there are people right now that are genuinely concerned about putting food on the table and genuinely concerned about paying their bills the next month, the month after. There’s a little of that going on. There’s a little bit of or a lot of the motivated sellers saying, “No, put me on into an open house.”

People, let’s all please remember that we’re all in different types of positions. Everybody has different wants and needs. Unless us realtors remain respectful to one another and adhere to our code of ethics that were created about 100 years ago to make sure that we wouldn’t do that. Many of you, many of we complain that realtors aren’t looked at in a high enough light. Well, if we all start arguing on Facebook, we’re going to make that worse and we should not be doing that. You guys get my point.

Now, let me move to what I recommend. I still feel very strongly that bringing people over at a certain time is better than having a private showing at 10:00, 11:00, 12:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, that is better. You’re better of telling everyone, “Hey, we’re going to have a showing block and we’re going to control the traffic from Sunday to 12:00, from 12:00 to 3:00 on Sunday. Come by at that time.” Preferably, if you can have two realtors there, it will be better.

You get everyone outside. You stand on the front steps. You say, “Thanks for coming by. We’re obviously at an unusual time in our history. There’s a serious health concern out there that I’m concerned about. I’m sure you’re all concerned about and I know the seller is concerned about, so I’m going to bring people through in groups of three or four or five. When I bring you through, please don’t go around touching things. Please don’t open cabinets. Please don’t open closets in all different rooms.

“I have opened the doors to the rooms that we are going to allow to be seen. We’re going to walk through together. We’re going to walk out within eight minutes and the next group is going to come through.” If you have a sink near the door that you’re taking them in, you also could ask people as soon as they walk in to wash their hands but if they’re not touching anything you’ll probably be okay. I feel very strongly that that is smarter than 22 private showings because here’s what’s going to happen.

Last weekend at this moment, there were 3,100 open houses scheduled across Massachusetts. As of two hours ago, there were 731, so they’re down dramatically but here’s the problem. The open houses go down when there’s this many buyers out there, that means private showings go through the roof. That is not going to be as good for sellers because no seller is going to come home after every single private showing and clean their house immaculately, but they will if people come through in a scheduled time and a block.

Then after people leave, the seller comes home and cleans their whole house. Preferably, us realtors, if you can get your hands on Clorox, wipes or something like that, go around and clean the home, clean the knobs, clean the railings, clean everything that we can, then the seller comes home. I’ve also heard about some realtors hiring a cleaning staff that are going in and cleaning before the seller comes home. I think that’s wonderful. Good for you if you’re doing that.

Hopefully, you guys get a better understanding now of some different ways to show homes during this unfortunate unusual time. Hopefully, you took some of my thoughts into account about staying away from open houses in the traditional sense. Most of all, I hope you’ll join me in not taking a tough opportunity, a tough situation, not turning that into an opportunity for you to crush your competition.

I told our agents, no one in our company had better do that. I hope other leaders join me in telling people in their company because it shouldn’t happen, it’s unnecessary. We’re in a tough time and we all ought to stick together. Good luck my friends. Maybe, I’ll see you this weekend, if not I will see you Monday or Tuesday. I hope you’re all doing okay. I hope all your families and friends and everyone is safe. I can’t wait until we get through this together. Good luck guys. Have a nice weekend.