by Kacie Goff on 2020-04-01 9:25am
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted virtually every industry. Real estate is no exception. Because so much of real estate comes down to building a connection through in-person interaction, real estate agents across the world are wondering how to move forward in the age of social distancing.
Fortunately, you don’t have to put your business on hold. People who wanted to buy a home a month ago likely still do. Plus, as we all shelter-in-place, you essentially have a captive audience for all of your virtual marketing efforts.
But digital listings and virtual walkthroughs are just the start. At some point during the real estate process, buyers are going to want to see the properties in person. When they do, use these tips to practice social distancing while selling real estate.
If there was ever a time to let potential buyers tour homes solo, this is it. If you’re selling a home the sellers still inhabit, ask them how they want to proceed. They may prefer to stick to virtual showings through this season. You can also offer to book multiple showings in one day and hire a professional cleaning service afterward. Don’t be pushy, though. If your client prefers to stick to digital tools during this time, respect their wish to keep themselves and their family safe.
For any vacant properties or willing sellers, position a lockbox at the entrance of the home before the first showing. Set a code, disinfect the lockbox, and share that code with your buyers. You might want to consider leaving face masks and gloves at the entrance to the property, too, so your buyers can protect themselves during their tour.
Ask your buyers to ping you once they’ve finished looking at the property. When you return, don a mask and gloves. Then, disinfect the lock box and reset the code. Next, walk through the property and disinfect any surfaces that may have been touched, including doorknobs, light switches, and countertops. You can give your next potential buyers the new code you just set and repeat the cleaning process after each walk-through to keep your clients safe.
People are playing it safe during this pandemic, as well they should be. That means you’re not going to get people to go out and visit a potential house unless they’re both very interested in the home and confident that it’s safe. During this uncertain time, use digital tools to:
Social distancing matters. The more you can communicate with potential buyers without asking them to leave their homes or you leaving yours, the better. Make sure all of your online listings have ample information and extensive photo galleries. Consider investing in virtual tours, which are seeing a spike in popularity right now. And use social media platforms to spread online information about your available properties.
Similarly, use your social media platforms to inform buyers and sellers about the precautions you’re taking right now. Let them know that you’re only showing vacant homes, you disinfect every touched surface after each showing, you’re canceling open houses, etc. Build people’s confidence through this time and you’ll not only increase the likelihood of a sale now, but you’ll build your pipeline for the post-pandemic period.
We hate to break it to you, but open houses are a bad idea right now. On their website, the National Association of Realtors® says, “Where open houses are permissible, NAR strongly encourages members to consider the advisability of continuing to hold open houses at this time, especially in light of the guidance and actions of federal, state, and local authorities, including ‘The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America’ recommending that gatherings of ten or more persons be avoided.”
Not only do open houses expose people to risk, but they can also make it seem like you’re taking local, state, and/or federal guidelines lightly. People want to know they can trust their real estate agent. While it’s unfortunate to cancel open houses, it would be even worse to tarnish your reputation in the eyes of countless potential buyers and sellers.
Stay safe out there, real estate agents. While the industry will likely experience a slowdown through the coming months, you can keep your pipeline full by using digital tools and building trust with your community.