Real estate agents throughout the world are no doubt in panic mode. After all, how do you sell homes when everyone is stuck inside? And if you can’t work with buyers and sellers, how are you going to produce a paycheck? Will you be able to pay your mortgage? Buy groceries? Send your kids to college?
You’ve probably been thinking all those things and worse. It’s natural, of course, to have thoughts like this at this scary time. No one knows how the coronavirus pandemic will play out, and when things will be back to normal. And the chances are that just about everyone else in a commission-based business or who’s been furloughed or laid-off is going through the same vicious cycle of horrible thoughts.
So, what can you do to ease your worry and try to continue with business – but in a different way?
Going above and beyond
It’s certainly not going to be business as usual for anyone in the real estate industry these days, from agents and brokers to title companies and mortgage solicitors. However, there are still going to be active buyers and sellers in many markets throughout the country, and someone needs to service them. The question remains as to whether you are one of those individuals who are willing to go above and beyond to help these individuals and families.
The chances are that before the virus canceled seemingly everything, you had buyers, and you had sellers. Some of them have likely called you and put the brakes on their buying or selling activity. Not a surprise! So much in our lives has come to a dead standstill. But perhaps you have clients who still need to move forward. If so, you need to ask yourself if you’re willing to go above and beyond to serve those clients.
If the answer is “no”, you know what you need to do. You need to find someone else (hopefully in your office) who will service these individuals who need to sell or need to move within the next few months. It’s essential that you be fair to clients.
If, on the other hand, you are willing to go the extra mile, then it’s time to….
As fears abound and rules about social distancing remain in place, you won’t be scheduling any open houses any time soon. Some sellers will be hesitant to open their home at all, even for individual showings, and some buyers will be frightened about going inside a home with which they are unfamiliar. So, you’ll need to come up with another way to show your listed homes.
Thank goodness for technology! It allows us to craft wonderful real estate tools such as the 3D virtual tour, which will enable buyers to “walk” through a home without ever being inside. They just need a computer or smartphone to enjoy this virtual tour, which can provide them with a look at every corner of the houses they are considering. Some companies specialize in creating these virtual tours, and many are still working during this trying time, so it’s not too late to hire someone to do this.
Clients who are looking to buy might also ask you to visit the home they are considering. You have to decide whether or not you’re willing to do this before you continue servicing that client. And if you are, take all necessary precautions to protect yourself and those who live in the house.
Also understand that you’re going to depend on technology for a lot of other things related to your business as well, including closings, and remember that everything about buying and selling will likely be moving more slowly during this crisis, like real estate appraisals, title searches, inspections, and more. Be patient, and be sure to let your clients know where they are in the process at least once a week.
Use your time to do other tasks
Of course, if all of your buyers and sellers have disappeared, you’ll find yourself with lots of time on your hands. That’s when it’s time to put on a different hat and harken back to the days when you were brand new and didn’t have any clients yet.
It’s time to cold call again, call expired listings, or do whatever you did when you were just starting out and needed to fill your time and your client list. Everyone’s home, so you won’t have a hard time reaching people on the phone or via email! Many people are answering the phone these days, simply because they’re bored, lonely, or just want to talk! So strike up a conversation, don’t be pushy, and just see where it leads.
It’s also a good time to work on your website, hone your social media pages, and reach out to former and current clients just to say you’re still there and will be eager to serve them once everything gets back to normal.
Remember, everything that’s happening right now is so unprecedented that no one quite knows where it will all lead. So do your best to go with the flow, reach out for help if you need it, and keep the faith, so to speak. This too shall pass, and chances are business will thrive again in the not-too-distant future.