Disruptions. In business, yes. Business as usual, no.

 Tracy Rucka  |    May 11, 2020

Words have meaning. And who would have known that months ago, when this edition of Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine was going to be dedicated to the topic of disruption, how timely that word and topic would become. We find ourselves in the deep end of disruption based on the COVID-19 pandemic. We have a new appreciation of the term ‚Äúdisruption‚ÄĚand its many synonyms: change, interruption, trouble, interference, disturbance.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 24, 2020, Gov. Tony Evers officially issued Executive Order 12 Safer at Home (Order 12). According to Order 12, all individuals are required to stay at home with certain exceptions. The exception applicable to real estate is to conduct ‚Äúessential business and operations.‚ÄĚ

When you think about the human need for housing, it makes sense to say what we do as real estate licensees is an essential service. These are services necessary to continue to engage in brokerage and facilitate real estate transactions, including but not limited to real estate services, inspection services, legal services, appraisal, title companies, lenders and insurance companies. 

What does it mean as an industry to be essential, and what does it mean to you personally to be essential? As an industry, we have been given a responsibility, an authority to continue to help consumers satisfy their needs for housing. Meaning our industry can provide services to individuals with immediate housing needs.  

It means you have the authority to provide services, but it does not mean you have to practice at this time under Order 12. You might have personal health concerns, or you might be living with or caring for those who do. How you make decisions for yourself and your family is an individual choice. 

As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for clear communication is essential. Now more than ever, we need to communicate clearly with clients, customers and each other. Be creative, talk about options and use technology when it is available. Work with your firms to make decisions balancing the interests between the brokerage and the health and safety of everyone. 

It is imperative to take all necessary health and safety precautions. As individuals, the authority we have to practice may raise challenges as instructions from the CDC and health experts are evolving. Continuing to practice includes balancing interests while doing all we can to minimize risk to our health or the health of our clients and customers.  

As we each grapple with the implications of the decision to practice and how we practice, know that each licensee’s decision is valid. The situation requires change and adaptation, keeping as best as possible with the limitations of the new directives and license law. Regardless of whether you agree with the determination that real estate is essential, housing is critical to society. When buyers, sellers and tenants are in need of housing opportunity, we can assist them with proper safety protocols and provide brokerage services to facilitate transactions. Now more than ever, we are aware of how it takes a village to create a successful transaction. 

Take the responsibility and opportunity to continue to engage in brokerage, lead by example, and be an integral part of our communities. The concept of keeping in touch may no longer mean a shake of the hand or a hug; it may mean using technology to stay in verbal, not physical, contact. 

We are in this together. Now more than ever, we are reminded as REALTORS¬ģ to abide by the REALTOR¬ģ Code of Ethics, the foundation of which is based on the Golden Rule: ‚ÄúDo unto others what you would have them do unto you.‚ÄĚ

Be safe. Be kind. 

Tracy Rucka is Director of Professional Standards and Practices for the WRA.

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