In this article, I will share strategies to reopen your real estate business during the pandemic.
- Finding and Generating Leads Online
- Practicing Social Distancing at All Times
- Showing the Lead a Home
- Doing an Inspections, etc.
- Signing Contracts
Unemployment rates are at an all-time high as the economy heads toward a recession due to health and safety orders in response to the pandemic causing businesses to struggle to survive. As businesses in certain parts of the country reopen, we can examine their reopening strategies and apply it to your real estate business. These reopening strategies provide a safe environment and abide by health and safety orders while decreasing the chances of spreading the Coronavirus. Most importantly, it puts the consumer’s mind at easy and gets your business going again. Now this article isn’t for every real estate professional, but there are folks that must choose to go back to work or starve. If you must choose to work or starve, use the tips in this article to help guide you. Remember, your focus will be overcoming consumer health and safety concerns.
1. Finding and Generating Leads Online
Since you can’t door knock, you must rely on digital marketing strategies to reach potential leads. You can hyper-target your posts to an audience in your designated market and promote listings or your CMA tool to generating leads on Facebook and Instagram. You can also generate leads through Google Ads. These ads are similar to Facebook and Instagram ads but allows you to target and place ads based on keywords.
2. Practicing Social Distancing at All Times
Once you’ve generated a lead, you need to follow up with them, become acquainted, and see if they’ll be a good fit for you. You can get acquainted by talking on the phone, video call, or by meeting in person. A video call software, such as Zoom, not only allows you to see who you’re talking to, but also allows you to share your screen so you can easily show a lead your website, listings, and other useful tools that will help them on their home buying journey. If the lead isn’t comfortable showing their face on a video call, let them know that they can keep their camera off. If they don’t have a computer, they can use their mobile device. Zoom doesn’t require software to be downloaded, so it's easy for a new user to join a Zoom meeting. When you meet in person, Bring masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, disinfectant wipes, etc. for yourself and for your lead. Establish a safe and clean location for your meeting. You can even make masks and hand sanitizer with your brand on them.
3. Showing the Lead a Home
There are two options for showing a home: virtually or in person. Showing a home to a lead might be the most challenging responsibility to adapt to social distancing, but it also has the most options. Note: I advise omitting open houses during this time. Let’s go over some ways you can show a home to a lead while keeping social distancing:
- Virtual Walkthrough: A virtual walkthrough offers an interactive 3-D layout of a home and allows a user to explore it by pressing navigation buttons on their computer screen.
- Video Call Walkthrough: A video call walkthrough is live and will be more conversational based than a virtual walkthrough. You are essentially giving a tour of the home through your phone, Zoom, or other device.
- Recorded Walkthrough: Going through the home and record yourself talking as if it were to the lead. Guide them through the house and explain what they are seeing and how their life is perfect for the home. Send them the recording and leave a lock box at the listing. When your lead arrives, they can access the key in the lock box and listen to your recording as they tour the home. You can even tape arrows on the floor to help them stay on track throughout the recording.
- Adapted-Conventional Walkthrough: You and the lead both meet at the listing with masks, gloves, wipes, etc. Do a video call with and let the lead into the home while you stay outside. Guide them through the home and pitch each room to them as if you were standing next to them.
- Conventional Walkthrough: The same as before social distancing but with the proper tools: masks, hand sanitizer, gloves, disinfectant wipes, etc.
4. Doing an Inspections, etc.
Let your lead know that you have a recommendation for a home inspector, but they can also find their own. The lead can decide if they want to participate in the inspection, if they do, they must bring the proper tools like a face mask. Of course, you can manage the full inspection process but let them ultimately choose.
5. Signing Contracts
After negotiations have taken place, an offer has been agreed on, and both parties have met the contingencies in the contract, you can use online software like DocuSign, to sign contracts and other paperwork online while on a video call or Zoom meeting - in case they have questions. Alternatively, you can meet them in person and practice social distancing and extraordinary hygiene.
The real estate professionals that adapt to this new, temporary social distancing environment will prevail through the hard times. They find opportunities in the new challenges they face and create strategies that overcome them. Now, you have the skills to implement the whole buying process online without having to ever meeting the lead. Once everything returns to normal, you can still use these skills with new leads when it is appropriate – like if a home buyer is moving from out of state. Plenty of home buying websites already do something similar and some buyers purchase homes "sight unseen." So this isn't new to the real estate industry, but it is a valuable skill for any real estate agent to have in the 2020 and beyond.