Is Real Estate a Life Sustaining Business?

Is Real Estate a Life Sustaining Business?
Posted By Jeffrey Hogue @ Mar 23rd 2020 10:30am In: Real Estate

How important is the real estate business? According to the Governor of Pennsylvania, it is not "Life-Sustaining." I am one Pennsylvania Realtor that would like to put that theory to the test.

The phrase "Life-Sustaining Business" is not something you hear every day unless there is a pandemic or some other calamity threatening humanity ~ And here we are. It is often in these most challenging of times we find out who our leaders are and are not.


My goal is not to point fingers or call out any of our leaders. There are plenty of pundits out there waging verbal war against anyone in authority for almost any or no reason whatsoever. I hope this article offers food for thought as many of us deal with the moral conundrum sometimes associated with social distancing and making a living.


What is Life-Sustaining Business in Pennsylvania?

My first thought of what is life-sustaining involves four things, food, water, clothing, and shelter. Other critical items would be emergency services like medical, fire, and police. Utilities would also be high on the list. After those life staples, things start to get a bit more ambiguous as they are weighed against the ferocity of the pandemic. It is at this critical juncture when our political leaders are put to the test as economics and quality of life enter the picture.


For a full list of life-sustaining businesses visit the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Website Address:


Is the Real Estate Industry Listening?

This past Thursday, we received a message from Mike McGee, the chief executive officer at the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors. Following is a statement in the message given by PAR President William Festa:


"During this crisis, the governor's order is clear that Realtors can only do business if they can conduct it from their home. That means you shouldn't be leaving your house to do any type of business activity. You can, however, contact clients via telephone or electronically. You could still take listings and offers, but you can't go through a house –even if it's vacant– to take photos or a video. If you've got someone who wants to tour homes, you cannot do that as that's not life-sustaining in today's pandemic environment per the governor's order."


I checked to see if other real estate agents here in Reading, PA, and Berks were heeding the governor's order. From Monday, through Thursday of this week, there were 14 homes listed and 22 pending sale. Comparing the present activity to March of 2019, homes listed are down 68% and pending sales down 76% for the period. These numbers indicate that some Realtors may still be conducting business as usual, with some tweaks, of course. Realtors need to heed the decision the governor has made until that decision changes, or people could get hurt, and no one wants that!


Should Real Estate Services be on The List?

"Shelter" is a big deal, and so are economics. Realtors are the stewards of the shelter economy, and most understand that a healthy sustained housing market has a very positive effect on a community. Berks has plenty of medical services, and there may be an influx of medical professionals coming to the area who need a place to live ~ Who are they going to call? We want them here!!!


There are many agents and brokers with excellent ideas on how to conduct real estate business safely. One thought was to allow for a listing of vacant houses. An empty house costs the owner money, and services are often necessary to maintain the property. A buyer can preview the home while their agent waits outside, keeping distance. Putting a red line through the whole real estate industry without exploring ideas seems harsh.


We all understand the consequences if we don't get this right. Long after this issue passes, what will remain are the results of the decisions made. I hope our leaders make sound decisions and don't leave Realtors on the sidelines. We can and want to do our part. We can do our job safely without hurting others, and together we can help maintain the quality of life we all cherish.


Knowledge is Power!

Jeffrey C. Hogue

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