The COVID-19 Pandemic is an unprecedented moment in American history, and the Real Estate Market. In addition to the uncertainty and anxiety that accompanies a normal real estate transaction, for all parties, there are now additional fears and concerns during any transaction.
It is the duty of the Real Estate Agent to protect their physical safety first and foremost. It is also their duty to help protect that of their prospects, buyers, and sellers, not to mention their fellow agents, and vendors.
With face-to-face meetings now severely limited, or at times forbidden by authorities, pivoting to the ‘Virtual’ world in many interactions and communications are essential for Realtors, Real Estate Companies. Beyond Virtual technologies, employing tried and true communications and empathy skills will help us all get through this.
1. Website:Clean up your website to reflect the current situation. Update your website to show you are working through the Pandemic and you are there to help them. You will still be marketing their properties. You are still able to find them their dream home. State what you are doing to mitigate issues during with Buyers and Sellers during this time. Post a simple video on your website describing some of the aspects of this blog that you will be incorporating during this time.
2. Prospect all Contacts:Check in with everyone. Tell them you are still on the job and working. Contact Old Buyers, Sellers, and Prospects and fellow agents. Find out how they are doing and what they need. Sign them up for Listing Alerts from your website so that can track the live market themselves through the Pandemic. Build focused neighborhood listing pages they will be interested in seeing quickly. Keep in contact with them through calls, emails, listing alerts and Self-made phone videos.
3. Market to Your Farm:
Let them know you are still active. Tell them what’s happening in their neighborhood. Property Values, Sales, Listings, effects of COVID-19 on the market. Again, keep in contact with them through calls, emails, listing alerts from your website and IDX and Self-made phone videos.
4. Show Properties Virtually First:
Introduce the properties online first. Offer more interaction during this phase of the process. Try to develop great interest in one to three homes you wish to show to a prospect. Tell them due to the situation, you want them to see a home online that they are really excited about and seriously interested in buying BEFORE you show these ‘Pre-Approved’ properties. To help move this forward it is suggested you use some of the following tools to present the properties if possible:
5. Use Technology to Your Advantage:
Engage the Current Virtual Technologies for introducing Prospects to their Dream homes. These technologies get Buyers to ‘see’ the property better without stepping through the threshold of the home:
- IDX Property pages on your website with Images, Maps, Descriptions
- Virtual Tours
- Virtual Reality
- 3D interactive Property scans
- Agent or Owner created videos of walk-throughs of a property.
“Viewers are shown to be 400% more engaged with a 3D virtual tour of homes than they are with 2D imagery. 75% of real estate agents say that 3D virtual tour of homes helps them win more listings. ”
6. Open Houses Broadcast Live:Google Meetings, YouTube Live, Facebook Live, Zoom. Plan your open house and set a date and time the Open house will be shown. Be available to answer questions of the viewers and walk around showing them the home and answer any questions they have by showing the home while you do it. Setup private calls with interested parties to discuss offers.
7. Preparing to Show only ‘Pre-Approved Properties’:
- Get strong signs of interest in a property from Prospects before you show it to them.
- Driving in separate cars, maintain distance from prospects during showing.
- Wearing Gloves and a mask.
- Providing gloves and a mask for prospects should they request one.
- Putting offers online for approvals from the Buyers and Sellers
- Maybe creating offers with an addendum that makes the offer contingent upon a initial physical walkthrough, if they, or you, are not comfortable in show the home in person at the time of the offer.
8. Showing: Set Your Physical and Interaction Boundaries for Property Showings or Listing Appointments:You and your prospects and clients have different levels of tolerance for face-to-face (or should I say ‘Mask to Mask’) interactions. Make sure all parties are aware of your restrictions and get buy in from them before you interact.
- First establish your boundaries:
- Let them know you will be taking separate cars to the properties and then how the showing will be done.
- Follow the distancing guidelines required by law and by your Broker as a minimum.
- Are you willing to interact with Clients at the minimum distance of six feet?
- Or do you only want to interact virtually by phone or video chat?
- Are you willing to follow a Buyer through a property at six feet, or will you [with Seller’s permission] allow them to walk through the property unattended while you wait outside?
- You should also always wear an N95 mask and gloves during the walkthrough, for the Buyers, Sellers and YOUR safety and peace of mind.
9. Listing Appointments:These can possibly be done virtually. Speak with the Sellers. If they prefer a virtual listing appointment, then do what you know how to do, with the Seller’s help:
- Have your CMA completed before you call for your initial call?
- Have a Call or Video chat with the Sellers.
- Set up a time (right then or future time) where the seller can walk around the property video taping the property and describing what they see. Teach your prospect to hold the camera steady and slowly pan around rooms, garage, outdoors etc. If you want, they can Facetime, or WhatsApp live with you so you can have them show you things you may want to look at more closely or multiple times.
- Follow-up with a video call to show them your listing presentation.
- Have them approve the Listing Agreement with digital documents.
10. Virtual Mortgage Officer:Work with a Mortgage company that can process all the ‘paperwork’ virtually online and by electronic documents.
11. Virtual Escrow:Work with an Escrow company that can process all the ‘paperwork’ virtually online and by electronic documents without any party needing to go to an Escrow office or anywhere. Each party reviews and signs documents in their own location. Remember, as with any real estate or human transaction for that matter, having the other party like you and trust you, will make to process much smoother and agreeable. Work with Buyers and Sellers on transactions in this COVID-19 real estate market with the goal of making them as comfortable as possible with your knowledge of real estate, of the COVID-19 safety precautions, and of your expertise in closing deals in these stressful times.
About Strategic Agent:
Strategic Agent Inc. was established in 2015 to offer premium Agent Websites and IDX solutions for less. Since that time Strategic Agent has helped thousands of Agents and Offices to build strong brands and online presences to enhance their real estate businesses. Strategic Agent specializes is Websites, IDX, and Internet Marketing and Advertising for the Real Estate Industry. Sign up for Strategic Agent Websites and IDX on www.StrategicAgent.com, or call them at 805-413-7890 for more information.