No doubt you’ve heard the phrase “new normal” being tossed around when talking about the end of COVID-19. It’s still too early to tell what the new normal will look like, but it’s unlikely that our society will go back to what it was before the pandemic.
People will likely maintain a greater awareness of cleanliness and claim more personal space when out in public. We may see more people cutting back on shopping, entertainment, and eating out as they work to build a nest egg when the economy stabilizes. Convenient services like grocery pickup and delivery will likely maintain new levels of popularity and contactless payment options will be more widely adopted.
As for real estate changes, people who have been stuck in shoebox homes or apartments may want to shift to homes with yards. Many internet memes have joked about COVID-19 being the end of the tiny homes and open floorplan popularity, and while both these home choices will probably be just fine, it will be worth putting some extra focus on your listings’ outdoor and neighborhood amenities in the future.
We may also see more of the home buying and selling process take place from a distance. Online signings, meetings, and even showings will be more common. People have expected quality listing photos for years and use photos to determine if they want to see a home in person. Moving forward, we may see more buyers who expect a video tour of a listing to get a feel for the layout of a home before they visit it in person.
Reassure Buyers and Sellers
In the immediate aftermath of COVID-19, reassuring buyers and sellers is going to be crucial. Approach every buyer and seller like it’s their first time dealing in real estate. Many people have been negatively affected by the economic impacts of the pandemic, and buying a home may feel more risky than normal. Come prepared with statistics on housing values, the local market, and the long-term benefits of owning a home. Whenever possible, provide visual aids to help show why it’s a good time to transact and back your experience up with credentials and success stories of your past sales.
You’ve probably noticed common themes and phrases popping up in advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic. Everywhere you turn, companies’ ads are promoting “togetherness” and “coming together” during these “uncertain times” instead of launching right into their product or service’s benefits. Big companies spend a lot of money and have whole teams of experts searching for the right angle and the right message to send out – something that’s especially important with the shift COVID-19 caused. Keep an eye on how large, national companies are promoting their business after the pandemic for ideas on how you should shape your advertising and marketing messages when the pandemic ends.
Start small to make sure your message is hitting the right cords with potential buyers and if one approach doesn’t seem right, try something else.
Offer Digital Options
Before COVID-19, showings and open houses were minor inconveniences to sellers, but with health concerns at the top of everyone’s mind, sellers may not want a lot of strangers coming through their home for safety’s sake. Offering virtual open houses and video tours to weed out the less serious buyers may make sellers more comfortable listing their home. These same features will help buyers vet potential homes, limiting the number of homes they (and you) will need to see in person to find the right home.
If your clients are more comfortable meeting with you via phone or video chat, make sure you’re available. Google Hangouts or a video through Facebook Messenger is a good option since most people already have a Gmail account or Facebook profile. Familiarize yourself with several different video options so that you’re ready to use whatever platform your client is most comfortable with.
There are also many secure, easy to use platforms (such as DocuSign) that you can use to digitally sign offers, disclosures, and contracts so that you can move your sales forward without your clients having to meet with you in person or manage the hassle of printing, signing, scanning, and emailing important documents.
Provide Masks, Hand Sanitizer, Etc.
People will remember the hazards and safety measures of COVID-19 long after it ends. You may see listings in the immediate aftermath, and even years from now that request any buyers or agents coming to look at the house wear a mask. If your clients wear a mask to meet with you, it may be appropriate to wear one as well to put your clients at ease. Keep a supply of disposable masks in your car and office so that you’re prepared if you do come across these listings.
If you host an open house, make disposable masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer available for attendees, especially if you anticipate a good turnout or are providing snacks. You should also ensure your office offers visitors easy access to hand sanitizer.
For more tips on rebuilding your business after COVID-19, join the Secrets of Top Selling Agents Facebook group. Here you’ll find agents from across the country as well as industry experts willing to share their stories, ask questions, and offer advice.