With a record snow fall still on the ground in much of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, we thought now would be a good time to talk about snow safety for real estate professionals and their customers.
When we were kids, we dreamed about snow and getting the day off from school to build the perfect snowman and participate in snowball fights with our friends. Once we left school behind and entered adulthood, however, we quickly realized the awful reality our parents had to face — having to go to work in the cold, slippery white mess!
It’s fair to say that snow poses a special challenge for real estate professionals. It’s not like they can go into hibernation and come back out when the snow finally melts. They have to keep pounding the pavement, showing property, meeting with clients, networking, closing deals. The thing is most of that involves using their cars or SUVs to get around town and show property.
We want to share some common sense tips in case you find yourself in the grip of Old Man Winter and under piles of snow drift. There are some practical ways to make sure you –and your clients– stay safe as you continue looking for the dream home.
Snow tip #1: Pack a shovel. Keep a shovel in your trunk in case you get plowed in while at the office. It can also come in handy if you get to a property only to discover the front walk is full of snow. Nobody wants to shovel in high heels or Italian loafers but it’s better than a client falling and getting injured.
Snow tip #2: Pack road salt. As snow melts it tends to freeze up at night, which is often when you may swing by to show property. Salt can help you and your customers navigate the sidewalk safely.
Snow tip #3: Take your time. With the snow comes perilous driving conditions. Be sure to let the client know to leave earlier than normal to allow for a longer drive time.
Snow tip #4: Walk carefully. It kind of goes without saying but even if you are running late, it’s far better to walk slowly than to land in the ER with a broken arm.
Snow tip #5: Bundle up. If you have to do any walking outside, say as an agent would when riding the subway in NYC, then dress warmly. A lot of showings are after hours when the temps drop rapidly; you don’t want to be caught with just a sport coat or a cardigan to keep you warm.
Snow tip #6: Put the lights on. If you are showing a house after hours, get to the property early to turn on the front lights and provide the best visibility possible for your clients. You can ask the home seller to do it but you can’t be sure it will be done.
Snow tip #7: Practical shoes. You look stunning in those Jimmy Choo boots, but what you really need are a pair of UGGS to keep your ankles safe and toes warm. Dress for the conditions, and right now that means warm shoes with flat soles!
Snow tip #8: Senior care. A good number of seniors are downsizing and moving into smaller properties or even condos. Be sure to take special precautions with showing them property. Try to ensure seniors have easy access to the entrance to a home or condo building. Be willing to offer an arm to help them over snow or ice. If it’s particularly bad out, consider rescheduling the visit to a later date.
Snow tip #9: Snowed in. There were a large number of cars snowed in on highways up and down the eastern seaboard. If that ever happens, be sure to periodically clean snow away from your exhaust pipe to prevent a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide. Also, periodically turn the car off to conserve gas if you are not certain when help will come.
Snow tip #10: Clean the car. Before driving, make sure your car doesn’t have any remaining snow on the hood, roof, windshields, or that it obscures your lights. Not only is it a hazard if snow flies off your car and hits another car, you also run the risk of getting into an accident if your lights are covered by snow or you can’t see well out your rear or side window.
Bonus tip: Tire safety. Driving on bald tires is bad enough on a clear day, but add snow into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a fender bender or worse. Make sure your tires have good treads and stay pumped to the tire specifications to be as safe as possible. Oh, and top of your fluids and clear your windshield wiper sprayer for good measure.
We hope you enjoyed our snow tips and will consider sharing them with anybody impacted by this past week’s snow. After all, when the white stuff begins to fall, we want our friends in real estate earning their commissions, not out of commission.