After a year in which every real estate company has had to grapple with health and safety concerns, The Agency became the first residential brokerage to earn a WELL Health-Safety Rating from the International WELL Building Institute.
Launched during the height of the pandemic last summer, the International WELL Building Institute’s seal of approval confirms that a company has taken the proper health and safety steps to keep its clients and employees safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Given what’s happened in the last 15 months, it’s important for businesses to take as much care as possible in protecting their guests and their clients,” CEO Mauricio Umansky told Inman. “[…] We feel this is a move in the direction of being socially responsible and protecting our work environment as well as we can.”
To earn the seal, brokerages need to have their operational policies, maintenance protocols, stakeholder engagements and emergency plans both during the pandemic and in its aftermath confirmed by a group of independent inspectors for a fee that ranges from $2,730 for a small building to $4,200 for a standard-sized building.
Makenzie Green, the Agency’s partnerships and events manager, told Inman that some of the steps the company has taken to earn the seal include monitoring the air and water quality in all their offices, implementing emergency response plans and improving air flow to reduce particle exposure.
The brokerage is currently in the process of preparing to reopen its offices in June and hopes that the seal will give members of the real estate community an additional level of reassurance.
“While we have been spending a lot of time at home, we do need to recognize that there are environments such as the corporate office where we will be spending a lot of our time as well,” Green said. “We just wanted to invest in personal spaces so that our agents, our staff, our clients and the community feel safe when they see that seal.”
The seal quickly became a mark of prestige after debuting — celebrities like Robert De Niro, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Venus Williams encouraged customers to “look for the WELL Health-Safety seal” in a series of commercials.
At the start of the month, Toronto-based commercial real estate brokerage RISE received the seal. The Agency, which is based in LA and serves some of the city’s most affluent clients, became the first residential brokerage to do the same. Yankee Stadium, the Empire State Building and JPMorgan Chase are some of the major buildings and institutions that have also received the IWBI seal of approval.