How Do Real-Estate Agents Show Homes During Covid? With Face Masks, Gloves and Some Ingenuity

Heather T. Roy & Learka Bosnak

Ms. Bosnak: Heather and I have been working together for 15 years and we are very comfortable doing showings together. Then Covid shut everything down. We did a showing and I came back completely frustrated, because we were wearing masks. I felt muzzled. I was constantly running around saying, “I’m smiling under here!” This business is all about rapport, comfort level.

Ms. Roy: We’re like, “We need new skills. We need people to know what we’re thinking, and we also need to know what they’re thinking.” It was almost like we needed a body language expert. I am single and I had met with a couple of matchmakers in L.A. One had her clients meet with a body language expert—Mark Edgar Stephens.

Ms. Bosnak: Heather’s still single, but we love this guy.

Ms. Roy: So we called Mark and told him what we were after, and we had a two-hour Zoom meeting with him and our operations manager, Matthew Ingraham.

Ms. Bosnak: Matthew had gotten us “Heather and Learka” masks—very classy—black with white letting along the cheekbone.

Ms. Roy: Mark said, “Get your masks out, let’s do this.” He had planned exercises for us. He put a mask on and he was like, “OK, I’m just seeing this house. How do I feel?” And he’d make us tell him what we thought he felt. All three of us would be shouting, “Oh my God, you don’t like it!” He explained how much is communicated through eye movement, like crinkles and stuff like that.

Ms. Bosnak: One of his other big tips was to make sure your whole body is working. Face the person and make sure your feet are in the right place. Otherwise you are signaling that you are not listening. Now it’s

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In ‘Leave The World Behind,’ 2 Families Face The Unknown Together

Rumaan Alam’s latest novel, Leave the World Behind, centers on a white family and an older Black couple who find themselves together in a beautiful vacation house on Long Island while a power outage — and possibly something much worse — grips much of the East Coast.

The novel, which is up for the National Book Award, explores class and race relations — and how we respond to crisis and fear. The juxtaposition between the luxury inside the home and the growing sense of uneasiness outside the house seems to speak to life during the pandemic, but Alam says the connection was purely accidental.

“I could not have foreseen the particular cultural moment into which I’m publishing this book,” he says.

Alam, who lives in Brooklyn, felt a particular tension between safety and confinement during the early days of New York City’s COVID-19 shutdown: “I felt really trapped earlier this year when it was March and it was kind of cold outside and the playgrounds weren’t open and there really was nowhere for me and my kids to go. And it’s hard to hold those two things in your head — that you can have the great fortune of having a place to be and still feel a little trapped there.”

That tension runs throughout Leave the World Behind: “There’s a discomfort in that metaphor of the home — the luxurious home that promises to be this family’s getaway — that eventually becomes this family’s trap,” Alam says.

Interview highlights

On the novel’s opening chapters, in which the white family who is renting the house opens the door in the middle of the night to an older Black couple who claim to be the home’s owners

The reader is meant to feel a bit of discomfort there because,

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Three Middleburg Heights nuisance homes finally face demolition

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio — Homes on three nuisance properties in Middleburg Heights are getting closer to demolition after nearly a one-year process to get rid of them.

City Council last December voted to pursue razing homes at 7640 and 7705 Eastland Road, as well as one at 19685 Sheldon Road.

The Finance Committee at its Monday (Oct. 5) meeting recommended approval of a $56,350 appropriation to cover demolition costs. City Council is anticipated to pass legislation authorizing the expense during the Oct. 13 council meeting.

It has taken a long time to get to this point, with hearings held throughout the year with the property owners. One owner failed to appear before the city’s Nuisance Abatement Board, which consists of the law director, service director, finance director and the mayor’s executive assistant.

“It didn’t seem they had the cash flow to be able to maintain the property or even get it up to any certain minimum standards,” Service Director Jim Herron told the Finance Committee.

Mayor Matt Castelli previously said the city does not take lightly decisions to raze structures.

“It’s important we go through all the necessary processes to give everybody a fair chance to correct the issues with their properties,” Castelli said, noting that a Cuyahoga County Board of Health sanitarian, Middleburg Heights housing inspector, assistant fire chief and building commissioner all had deemed the homes unsanitary, unsafe and structurally defective.

Tests will be conducted on the three homes to determine if asbestos is present. If detected, it will need to be removed prior to demolition. In addition, trees will need to be trimmed at the 7640 Eastland Road property before machinery and trucks can enter.

More than a dozen commercial and residential sites in Middleburg Heights have been declared nuisances, and structures on them removed, since December

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Residents still face problems with contractors two years after Hurricane Michael

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) – Two years ago Hurricane Michael ravaged our area, and for some, they’re still feeling the effects.

text: We talk with a family living in a trailer after a contractor took their money without repairing their storm damaged home. We are looking at how much money has been stolen from home owners and insurance companies through contractors not doing the job they were hired to do.

© Provided by Dothan WTVY
We talk with a family living in a trailer after a contractor took their money without repairing their storm damaged home. We are looking at how much money has been stolen from home owners and insurance companies through contractors not doing the job they were hired to do.

Residents are still facing problems with fraudulent contractors.


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“Whenever we first moved into the camper it was only supposed to be four months. Here we are almost two years later, same boat,” Bay County resident Kelsie Raffield said.

Raffield’s home has been unlivable for the past two years, but it’s not because of what you see, it’s because of what you don’t.

She said her supposed contractor stole nearly $130,000 of their insurance money.

“The license number was real. He just wasn’t who he said he was,” Raffield said.

Now they’re trying to fix whatever they can on their own.

She looks back at all the signs telling them something wasn’t right.

“Logan did have to tell him like four different times, ‘hey this isn’t right what’s going on?’ You know, those red flags that you notice after you find out things about people,” Raffield said.

However, their case is just one of hundreds filed since Hurricane Michael.

“We’ve had 952 cases assigned to us since November of 2018 in the financial crimes section,” Corporal Dennis Rozier said. “Probably around 70% of those is actually contractor-related or complaints. A number of those are unfounded or they turn into civil; we have had a substantial number of them.”

Bay County Sheriff’s officials in the financial crimes unit say they are still working dozens.

“We’ve had

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Colorado nursing homes face new pandemic challenge: staying open

A decrease in the number of residents living inside, combined with increased costs, has led many facilities to financial trouble.

DENVER — The number of new cases of COVID-19 in long term care facilities has decreased since the beginning of the pandemic. Now nursing homes are facing another challenge: staying open.

Many facilities have had to invest more money into securing personal protective equipment to keep employees and residents safe. They’ve also had to pay employees overtime and bonuses for working through the pandemic. On top of that, the number of residents living inside these facilities has dropped sharply.

Doug Farmer is the president of the Colorado Health Care Association, representing senior care centers across the state. He estimates the number of residents living inside nursing homes has decreased between 15% and 40% in some places.

“When they start to see a decrease in the number of people that they care for, and therefore their revenue, they have to make some very difficult choices about how or if they can proceed to exist,” said Farmer. “I think people are waiting to make sure that things have leveled out, to see if there’s a vaccine, or other things that can be done to ensure the safety of their loved ones.”

Up north, at the Estes Park Health Living Center, there are 52 licensed beds. Right now, less than half are occupied. The facility expects to lose $1.4 million this year, about $56,000 for each of the empty beds, according to documents on the facility’s website. 

The financial strain brought on by the pandemic has forced the owners to propose closing the entire facility. 

9NEWS reached out to the facility requesting an interview but did not hear back. 

The Estes Park Living Center is still looking for alternative options that would allow

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