How REALTORS® Are Adapting Their Business During the COVID-19 Situation
The current COVID-19 crisis has changed the way many of us conduct business and communicate with one another. Handshakes and in person meetings have been replaced with Zoom Meetings and a need for social distancing.
For REALTORS®, Spring and Summer are normally busy months with clients wanting to sell or buy homes but with the current situation and the uncertainty and volatility of the markets, additional stresses and challenges face REALTORS® and their businesses.
We spoke to five REALTORS® – virtually of course – on the impact this has had on their Real Estate business and how they’re adapting to the current situation.
The questions we asked were:
- How has the COVID19 situation affected your Real Estate business?
- How have you adjusted the way you conduct and operate your business?
- What are your clients saying during these times?
- What feedback would you like to share with the public?
How has the COVID19 situation affected your Real Estate business?
- “Business is slower but listings and sales are still happening.” – Sharon DeLisser, Sutton Group Westcoast Realty
- “Business is still moving forward but at a much slower pace. There are less showings and calls and no open houses at all.
My buyers who are not in a rush to purchase have decided to take a more wait and see approach until things go back to normal.” – Alisa Sakomoto, RE/MAX Westcoast
- “Multiple selling clients have decided to put off listing their property until this situation has stabilized and speculation has subsided. Buyers are cautious about looking at listings that are owner occupied. I’ve had collapsed transactions because of layoffs to pre qualified Buyers. Multiple scenarios are presenting themselves that we haven’t experienced before.” – Greg Steele, RE/MAX Excellence
- “I’ve shifted gears to working ‘on’ my business vs. ‘in’ the business. I’m cleaning up my CRM and taking the time to connect with my database to provide value. I’m still busy, just pivoting.” – Elaine Kay, RE/Max Crest Realty
- “Buyers who were keen to put in offers have backed away from the market. Requests for viewings have drastically declined. Sellers are reluctant to list in this current climate. In order to maintain social distancing while promoting our current listings, we produced walk-through “open house” virtual tours to be viewed safely at home.” – Nancy Pierce & Dave Duncan, RE/MAX Professionals Inc.
How have you adjusted the way you conduct and operate your business?
- “I have started to do video tours for my listings now and will conduct virtual live Open Houses in the coming weekends to see how that goes. Also, in practicing social distancing as much as possible, I have been using Facetime and Zoom with clients which they have found to be quite helpful.” Alisa Sakomoto, RE/MAX Westcoast
- “We’ve followed advice to maintain social distancing. Showings can be conducted under strict COVID-19 health practices. In order to maintain social distancing Dave and I produced walk-through “open house” virtual tours in lieu of conducting public open houses.” – Nancy Pierce & Dave Duncan, RE/MAX Professionals Inc.
- “I have a lengthy pre-qualification process for potential buyers before I will even consider meeting them onsite and I will only meet buyers on site if the cooperating agent attends – no children, friends or family may attend, only the agent and the buyers. All others need to view the property online. There are health questions to be answered an hour prior to entry, waivers to be signed and so on….” – Sharon DeLisser, Sutton Group Westcoast Realty
- “I’m implementing virtual capacities more than ever before. This includes 3D walk-through Matterport tours, virtual showings & open houses for my listings. Before this, I have sold a handful of properties off a FaceTime video when my clients couldn’t physically be here. I am still implementing that strategy.” – Elaine Kay, RE/Max Crest Realty
- “I have personal protective kits in my vehicle for showings. I have clients sanitizing their properties before and after each showing.” – Greg Steele, RE/MAX Excellence
What are your clients saying during these times?
- “Buyers and Sellers are very cautious. Some sellers are refusing to allow showings until further notice or removing their listing from the system. Some Buyers have a wait and see attitude before they continue their home search. It all depends on the clients personal situation. If they have Sold their property and NEED to move, the motivation and stress levels are much higher. I’ve had purchasers asking for amendments to extend closing dates, etc.” – Greg Steele, RE/MAX Excellence
- “Sellers appreciate the precautions and due diligence.” – Sharon DeLisser, Sutton Group Westcoast Realty
- “All my clients (mainly sellers) I’m working with right now are quite understanding of what’s been happening in the market during this challenging time. They know that we are working our hardest to implement new and creative ways to showcase their home through digital marketing. Buyers are liking this because they can tour these listings from the comfort and safety of their own home. I have created a Showing Protocol document which I share with my Sellers and potential Buyers/Buyers agents and there is a list of questions that need to be asked as well as extra precautions that need to be taken before the showing can be confirmed. Everyone is on-board with it to protect their own safety and those around them.” – Alisa Sakomoto, RE/MAX Westcoast
- “My clients are happy to hear from me. Most are at home now and have the time to connect on what’s been happening with their families, how they’ve been keeping busy, how I’ve been doing and generally what’s been going on with the real estate market.” – Elaine Kay, RE/Max Crest Realty
- “Sellers are reluctant to list. Buyers have lost interest in viewing homes fearing contracting COVID-19. Overall, clients have adopted a “wait and see” attitude.” – Nancy Pierce & Dave Duncan, RE/MAX Professionals Inc.
What feedback would you like to share with the public?
- “We’re in a position that we can add value and help our clients through this. This is what I’m doing and regardless of how long this is going to last and what the market will be like, I truly believe you will reap what you create.” – Elaine Kay, RE/Max Crest Realty
- “Listen to health advisories. Adapt to the situation. Try to remain positive and prepare for a “new” normal. This pandemic has affected our lives in an unprecedented way. The changes we make today will transform the way we do business in the future.” – Nancy Pierce & Dave Duncan, RE/MAX Professionals Inc.
- “Be available and present for your clients. Know your market, know the protocols to follow, be aware of the changes as they happen, stay in contact and inform your clients.” – Greg Steele, RE/MAX Excellence
- “I think as long as everyone is being sociably responsible and doing their part to protect the safety and well being of the community, we can get through this together and business and life will go back to normal sooner than later!” Alisa Sakomoto, RE/MAX Westcoast
- “It’s still possible to do business in this Covid climate. REALTORS® are considered an essential service and we have an opportunity to show our value now more than ever. Stay positive and take all the steps you can to distance and stay safe. If you’re compromised stay home.” – Sharon DeLisser, Sutton Group Westcoast Realty
All in all, it’s clear that the current COVID19 crisis is affecting the Real Estate industry and the way REALTORS® are operating their businesses. One positive we can take from all of this is that REALTORS® are finding creative solutions to respond and provide their clients with necessary resources to understand, buy and sell Real Estate.
How about you? What strategies are you currently using to adapt? Please feel free to share it in the comments!