How COVID-19 Has Changed Our Business
There were massive changes that were implemented for all companies and businesses when the world learned about COVID-19. Without a cure for the virus, people were unsure of how they were going to approach it. The changes included restrictions implemented to keep people safe. They had to wear masks at all times and maintain social distance. Furthermore, whenever the number of people infected with the virus increased, the country pushed for a national lockdown and people would not be allowed to leave their homes. The few exceptions to the rule are, leaving to purchase groceries, medical emergencies, and essential services. Additionally, companies could not function because people were not allowed to travel to the office unless they worked at places classified as essential services.
Businesses were unsure about meeting deadlines and keeping up with the changes taking place. Most employers found a decrease in productivity through remote working, while people mentioned that they were finding it challenging to get work done with so many distractions in their homes.
If we have to foresee the changes taking place over the next couple of months, we predict many improvements regarding real estate. For customers that are buying houses, the real estate business is considered essential, and we believe that clients that are purchasing a home will continue to have home inspections. For homeowners living in a house, less than 12 months old, we provide an 11-month warranty inspection. We believe that these customers will continue to have inspections as this is their last chance for their builder to make the necessary repairs under the builders’ one-year warranty program. For clients living in their houses between 15 to 20 years, we provide a Home Health Check-up, which is the most economical inspection, targeting major components of the home. Other than being affordable, the home inspection provides early detection against costly surprises or devastating losses. The number of people working with this inspection is increasing as customers want to protect their most expensive investment.
Many people sell their houses “As Is” by homeowners and investors. These types of sales do not require full-disclosures of the home, but people purchasing it should inspect it so that they are well informed about the condition of the home they are purchasing.
COVID-19 has made a lot of changes to the ways that companies function. They implemented rules forcing change for the sake of keeping people safe. Fortunately for us, COVID-19 has not disrupted our business at all. Real estate transactions are a vital part of our economy, and home inspections go hand and hand with real estate transactions.
With all the changes taking place, many people were losing their jobs and companies had to lay off large numbers of people or close various branches. The change meant a lot fewer people were spending large amounts of money on expenses that they could delay for the future. It also meant a significant decrease in the disposable income people had, so they delayed costs that were not an absolute necessity. These changes did not make that much of a difference because we were fortunate and always had clients looking to get their work done.
While we made some changes to the way we were handling our work, we also changed our communication patterns. With the current health concerns, our inspectors had to wear face masks, gloves and booties, along with full-body protective wear when they were entering crawl spaces. We practice 6-foot social distancing while reviewing our findings with our clients. If our clients are uncomfortable with an onsite review, we review our findings over the phone, which is easier for them. We also changed the rules around the way we were working in the past. We have a home office space where we schedule inspections and generate marketing materials and reports. With work slowing down for a small amount of time due to the lockdown, we are now getting back to normal and creating smoother systems. We made no changes to the work timings because we did not want our clients to be all over the place. We are still working the same hours, or maybe a few more.
We have always conducted our business from our home office. However, we make sure that we do not have clients visiting, so we do not have to sanitize it post every meeting and other such changes. There were other aspects of work that were handled, like changes when reviewing other venues and locations.
When working in the field, our inspectors have to properly remove and discard their PPE appropriately. When inspectors return to the home office, they have to shower and place their work clothes in a designated area for washing. In the home office, we disinfect our phones, desks, computers, etc. regularly. Office support has the dedicated workspace that they are responsible for.
Although we do not coordinate with secure information, we make sure that our client’s details are secure. We do not have many secure platforms, but the few we use are tried and tested. All our reports are sent in a PDF document via email to the email addresses provided by clients, which was always the practice we followed. Additionally, we also use Word documents saved in a PDF format and sent via email so that they cannot edit those and the changes are final.
When it comes to leaving our home or inspecting other houses, we follow all the implemented rules. With the current health concerns, our inspectors have to wear face masks, gloves and booties, along with full-body protective wear when entering crawl spaces. We practice the 6-foot social distancing while reviewing our findings with our clients. Additionally, we have conducted meetings via telephone if the client is uncomfortable with a face-to-face review. However, the inspection has to happen in person because it is quite challenging to understand what is happening in another house when you are not there because there are small changes that we could miss.
VisionQuest is a member of the Cobb Association of Realtors. We are also on committees, and they conduct meetings via Zoom and other online platforms. There is an expo scheduled in April, and if they choose to have the expo virtually, we will attend.
We were fortunate to have avoided getting the COVID-19 virus so far. I attribute this to our practice of wearing PPE and social distancing.
If you are looking for professional and experienced home inspectors in the Metro Atlanta area, VisionQuest Home Inspections, LLC is the team for you. A house is likely the most expensive purchase a person makes, so we advise all our clients to get a home inspection before purchasing or selling a house. There are times when it increases the value of the house. We offer a series of services and tests, and if you want a better understanding of the services we provide, please click here. To get in touch with us or think that we can assist in any way possible, please click here.