Coronavirus-specific advice for Realtors

The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the real estate market has been swift and undeniable. However, that’s not to say it was consistent. Despite the stock market quickly taking major hits amid early widespread panic, some agents were busier than ever as clients rushed to complete deals before an impending shutdown. Some open houses were cancelled at the request of the seller and some were cancelled at the request of the brokerage, but others continued with big crowds.

 

Working with sellers in a time of crisis, especially one as fear-inducing as a global pandemic, requires effective listening and communication. As the agent, you don’t necessarily want to be in the position of convincing your clients that they should be taking the pandemic more seriously or less seriously. Rather, the better avenue is to begin the conversation by hearing their level of concern, and then compare that with their needs. Are they under significant financial pressure to sell their home and cannot afford to wait an untold number of months for normalcy to resume? Or would they feel more comfortable with postponing most selling activities? Be careful with giving market advice: you can speak to your experience with this situation in real time, but the rapid swings we’ve seen already could make blanket assessments of the market risky.

 

If the seller wants to move forward, it’s time to look at innovative solutions to make that happen. If a physical open house with precautions such as hand sanitizer, disposable gloves, and asking all visitors if they’re traveled to a high risk area recently is no longer feasible or comfortable for the seller, agents are turning to such tools as Facebook Live, FaceTime, or prerecorded videos to engage buyers with homes. But these solutions are obviously far removed from actually being in the house, so look into ramping up on other visual resources you can share: more photos, hiring a professional to take better photos, enhanced floor plans, and even setting up virtual 3D tour software, if possible. Then, wrap things up with paperless documentation using DocuSign.