Things don’t seem to be getting better on the Covid-19 front. The United States announced Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine rollout before the end of 2020, yet cases are spiking each day. The new UK variant of the virus is deemed more contagious and we may find ourselves in lockdown until spring.
Luckily, the real estate industry is an essential service and safely operated through the pandemic so far. That’s not to say this isn’t a very difficult time to be an agent, buyer, or seller in the market. Buyers and sellers are nervous about selling homes in a volatile environment. Agents are focusing on new creative ways to build their networks and show homes to potential buyers. This article details how realtors can build their client-base and use new virtual tools to keep selling homes through the lockdown.
Finding Clients During Lockdown
Door-to-door knocking is frowned upon during the pandemic and clients still find cold-calling annoying. This leaves many agents at a loss when it comes to generating business but it can still be done. Your search for clients can be more rewarding during a pandemic where most people are glued to their screens waiting for anything to grab their attention.
Referrals, referrals, referrals
We cannot emphasize that word enough, especially during a pandemic. Although the process of selling a home has changed, buyers are still using the same tactics when choosing an agent. Eighty percent of people pick a real estate agent based on someone they know or a recommendation from a friend. You need to get in touch with your friends, family, and the rest of your local community. Consistently providing valuable information and content will build your network and drum up business.
Instead of door-knocking and cold calling try scheduling interviews with small business owners in your area. Remotely interviewing small business owners is a fantastic way to build connections. You only need a laptop, an internet connection, and a business owner looking for free PR.
If your interview helps people get to know the business owner and show off their personality, then you’ve done great! There are tools an agent can use to double down on value, get to know more people in a community, and increase referrals. Platforms like Parkbench will help you every step of the way! In addition to this, Parkbench creates a hyperlocal network establishing you as the go-to realtor in an exclusive community.
Using Your Social Media Channels
During the lockdown, everyone is at home and connected. Your clients are searching for something educational, entertaining, or inspiring and that’s exactly what your social media should deliver. Providing clients with a variety of content will increase their emotional engagement with you and your brand.
The most effective post you can share during the lockdown is an event-related post. Everyone is looking for something to do to fill time at home. Give them a virtual option! Keep your followers updated on any events you will be hosting or attending in the future. Talks, seminars, retreats, and training programs are events you should notify your followers about to see you in action. These events allow you to teach, inspire, and entertain your followers.
In addition to this always share information related to community events to stay in touch with local businesses. For example, your local pizzeria is having a one day sale where they donate a portion of proceeds from every large pepperoni pizza to a local charity. This is a great time to share this cause with your followers. Due to the pandemic, local businesses are struggling and need all the support they can get. Sharing this initiative with your followers will increase awareness of supporting local and give them an opportunity to do so. This will help build your community connections and brand you as a supportive local realtor.
In addition, being active on social media tells clients you are tech-savvy and able to keep up with new ways to show homes to potential buyers.
Changing Your Approach To Selling Homes During Lockdown
Now that you know about growing your network during the lockdown let’s see how the buying and selling process adapted throughout the pandemic. With limited opportunities for open houses and strict guidelines in place for when they do happen, agents need to flex their creativity in order to show prospective buyers everything a home has to offer.
Immerse Your Clients In The Home With 360 Degree Photos
The real estate industry has had access to 360-degree technology and virtual open houses for a long time. These tools are now absolutely essential during the lockdown in order to sell homes to buyers. It’s hard for buyers to get excited about properties without fully immersing them in one. The goal of 360-degree virtual tours is identical to open houses: Make clients feel at home.
Most clients will view virtual tours from the comfort of their sofas, which means they’re currently immersed in their own homes, thinking about what they have and don’t have. The goal of a virtual tour is to show clients the benefits a new property has to offer; whether it be a stellar kitchen, an in-ground pool, or a massive backyard. Since clients are spending more time at home, show them how they can improve their quality of life with this new property.
Agents can upload 360-degree photos to offer clients professional virtual tours. Agents can work closely with photographers to show off the best angles of a home. And it’s important that these photos look their best. Be sure to install a photo editor or take your photos to a photo-editing service to have them touched up and color corrected.
You want your 360-degree photos to replicate the process of an open house. You must allow clients to travel seamlessly from room to room. Lastly, make sure you upload detailed floor plans in addition to your 360-degree photos. This lets clients know how to navigate through the tour.
Take A Seat In The Director’s Chair
Video is an essential medium for promoting and showing your listings to clients. Being comfortable filming and editing your own videos will help you stand out from other realtors. Giving clients a filmed walkthrough of a home is as good as an open house itself. What’s great is you can live stream the entire video to your clients. This allows them to ask you questions as you show them the property. This requires no expensive equipment. Your smartphone is capable of accomplishing all of this.
Edited Video Tours
Another option is to post an edited video tour of a home to all your social media accounts. This is where you can get creative with the way you film various rooms in the home to show off their best angles. You can narrate video tours, or feature elegant background music to keep viewers engaged.
These edited tours require some skill with video editing software. This may sound daunting but it doesn’t have to be. There are simple video editing courses available that teach realtors all they need to know about filming and editing their own content. You will no longer need the services of expensive professionals. These courses delve into filming and editing Zoom video which is becoming a key avenue to stay in touch with clients.
The Power Of Video Conferencing In Lockdown
Video conferencing is a great option to meet with clients before and after showing them a property. It’s an option that is here to stay as most clients would rather video conference with an agent than drive to their offices. With that being said, it’s important to get comfortable with the technology. Learn how to answer all client questions via video and walk them through complex contracts and eventually close the deal.
Video conferencing isn’t only for meeting clients, it’s also great for conducting those interviews with small businesses. Learning how to properly record and edit video conferences will lead to professional-grade interviews and quality content for your social media channels. These conferences also let you keep in touch with the rest of your team to plan strategies and set goals.
Inking The Deal
You’ve reached the end of the journey. You’ve had multiple virtual tours and video conferences with your clients, answering all their questions. They are ready to purchase their new property. Now it’s time to close the deal. This process often involved lots of paperwork and signatures before the lockdown. Time to turn off the printing press! There are several apps you and your clients can install allowing you to sign documents through your phones, tablets, or computers.
This limits contact with clients, keeping you both safe. Online documents can be encrypted with a tamper-proof seal and audit trail. This ensures the legality of the documents and allows you and your client to see what was signed and when. Now, some clients would rather sign physical documents and you should absolutely make accommodations for them. Just know that the virtual tools are at your disposal and should be taken advantage of.
Lockdown doesn’t mean you have to lock up your business as a realtor. There are hundreds of tech tools that exist to help you find clients, sell homes, and succeed throughout the pandemic. With practice filming and editing videos, posting to social media regularly, and conducting interviews with small business owners, you’ll build an arsenal of skills to bring you success during Covid-19.
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