The world is a very different place today compared to just a few weeks ago. Travel has all but come to a halt, panic buying is making the news and “social distancing” and “flattening the curve” are phrases we now use multiple times a day.
What are you – as a real estate agent – supposed to do to continue generating income while being sensitive to your customers and making sure to follow the federal or state restrictions in your area?
Here are a few tips to ensure your real estate business survives this difficult time:
1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Staying in touch with your customers and colleagues is more important than ever right now. You can utilize email marketing tools, if you don’t already, to stay in touch with your clientele. Things that you should clearly communicate to them include:
- What effect you think COVID-19 may have on your local market in the short and long-term. Your brokerage may be providing you with useful information and data to share
- Whether your business is still operating and, if it is, what measures you are taking to ensure your clients’ safety and health
- Resources on your website, or other sites, that prospective buyers or sellers should read or be aware of
- Changes to the closing processes – this is a great way to remind clientele that closing is still possible during this time with a few tweaks
- Offer to personally speak with anyone who has concerns or would like the input of a licensed real estate agent
Any clients that were serious about buying/selling – or are in the middle of a transaction – need to hear from you quickly and frequently. Make sure you are transparent and communicative about potential risks, delays, changes in procedures and any other issues that they may face.
Always be sure to end the email on a positive note of encouragement such as, “There may be a few more steps and precautions we have to take, but we will get this deal done together!”
2. Build Your Tech Stack
Technology has become an even more important resource to real estate agents than it already was. The right tech can help you bridge distance gaps, save time on tasks and keep your business on track during this difficult time.
Zoom is a great option for communicating with your clients and colleagues via video conferencing.
The free plan allows for unlimited meetings with up to 100 participants per meeting (note: the free plan limits group calls to 40min but 1:1 calls have no time limit). Paid plans start at $14.99/mo.
DocuSign is another tool we love and use extensively at Folio (Disclaimer: DocuSign is a Folio partner).
Many real estate agents are already familiar with DocuSign and have been using it for years, however, if you don’t currently use DocuSign, now is a great time to start.
DocuSign will ensure you can get transaction documents signed, without the need for face to face meetings, in a timely manner – keeping deals on track. DocuSign is legally enforceable in most locations and provides all parties with the fully executed agreement upon both parties signing.
Virtual tour software is another nice-to-have that has now become a must-have. With prospective buyers limited by current restrictions, it may be difficult for them to physically tour properties.
Consider leveraging virtual tour software, such as VPix360, in order to provide your clientele with a great way to view a property afar. If the client is highly interested, it is still important to get them to the property for an on-site tour, however, start with virtual tours to reduce person-to-person contact while still showing properties.
3. Build Your New Processes
Whether you proactively created a process for moving clients through the buying/selling process, or just learned over time what worked, you need to revamp your process based on federal and state restrictions, market conditions, as well as what is best for your clients at this time.
Prior to communicating with your broader client base about changes to your processes, communicate with your extended team and colleagues to determine what changes need to be made in order to continue closing deals during this time.
Colleagues/partners you will want to speak with include:
- Other agents
- Your broker
- Transaction coordinators
- Title and escrow officers
The next few months will be challenging and – at times difficult – but by leveraging the right tools and tactics your real estate business can continue to operate effectively. Have other ideas or techniques that are working for you? We’d love to hear them!
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