[REN #921] Real Estate: Business Deals Without Handshakes

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Real Estate: Business Deals Without Handshakes, Real Estate News for Investors Podcast Episode #921

The pandemic is giving many of us “shakephobia.” Shaking hands is a common way to express good will and is often used during the closing of a business deal. It’s also a great way to spread germs, and maybe not a wise thing to do as the coronavirus spreads. I thought I’d dedicate this podcast to ways you can avoid a handshake without offending the person you are greeting.

The handshake has been around for a long time. The message a handshake delivers is one of trust, respect, equality, and, in business, agreement.

Handshakes Spread Germs

So what can you do if you are standing in front of someone who thrusts his or her hand toward you as an invitation to shake? If you can resist the habit of quickly grasping the hand, there are polite ways to let someone know you don’t want to shake.

An article in Reader’s Digest says, “The key to avoiding a handshake lies not in declining, but in deflecting.” (2) You could try a “fist bump” or an “elbow bump” instead of a handshake, although that still requires physical contact. It might also appear too casual for some business interactions. But there are ways to avoid physical contact without showing offense.

Handshake Alternatives

A few ideas that are floating around in various blogs include:

  1. Place one hand over your heart and lean forward in a slight bow. The Reader’s Digest blog cites a study out of Poland that says the gesture conveys a message of honesty because the hand is over the heart, along with goodwill and friendliness. 
  2. Another idea is to use the “namaste” gesture with two hands in a prayer position over your heart. That would also signal a greeting has happened without extending your hand.
  3. You could give someone the peace sign, in more casual environments. 
  4. If you are wearing gloves, you could shake with gloved hands.
  5. You could also wave at someone, while expressing a verbal greeting.
  6. A bow, a nod or a head tilt might work as well. In Japan, people bow as a greeting instead of shaking hands. Maybe that will catch on in the U.S.

Personal etiquette author Patti Wood told Reader’s Digest that you can circumvent an uncomfortable situation altogether by starting your own greeting first, from about seven feet away. You’re out of range for a handshake, which gives you the opportunity to set the nature and tone of the greeting. Any of the above gestures would work. 

Coronavirus Phobia

Another woman who operates a company called “Business Manners” told QZ.com it’s best to acknowledge that you are engaging in atypical behavior. (3)  She suggests being forthright about it and turning the virus into the villain. Something like, “Isn’t this strange that we can’t shake hands right now?”

At RealWealth, we’ve actually seen an increase in rental home purchases without anyone having any in-person contact at all. The seller hires a professional photographer to take pictures of every room, the exterior, the yard, and even the neighborhood. Video or drone shots are also very helpful. Inspectors and appraisers provide even more detail to the buyer. 

Purchase agreements, sales agreements and even notary signings can be done online. Sales agents and buyers can meet via zoom or FaceTime. Rents are verified through property managers and through websites like rentometer, rentradar and rentfax. 

In fact, one agent in our network sold 100 homes in the Orlando area to investors last month, which are renting out as soon as they close, and most of them were sold to people from out-of-state who did not see them in person. They were able to perform enough due diligence remotely.

The world is indeed changing, but in ways that were already underway. Online sales were increasing anyway. They just got a boost from the pandemic. 

If you would like more information on new homes in Tampa, Orlando, Cape Coral and other fast-growing metros in Florida, visit our website at RealWealthNetwork.com. While you’re there, you’ll also get referrals to property managers in the area who come highly recommended by our 50,000 members. 


(1) Wikipedia Article

(2) Reader’s Digest Article

(3) Quartz Article

(4) TIME Article

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