What Realtors Need to Know About Home Selling & Buying Under The “New Normal”
Florida resident Jaclyn Lambert (who happens to be our PR consultant) never thought she’d ever sell a home during a global pandemic.
In fact, when the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the seriousness of COVID-19, she temporarily put selling a house on hold. But after a few weeks of self-quarantine, she received a call from her trusted realtor assuring her they could handle the listing and transaction in a safe manner.
Within a week, Lambert witnessed a bidding war on her home. It closed shortly after that. Aside from signing the closing paperwork curbside, it was a contactless procedure, one that she confidently described to me as, “safe and easy.”
“I couldn’t have imagined just how well the process would have gone during this crazy time, but I really do owe it all to my realtor who I’ve turned to a couple of times. In fact, I wouldn’t use anybody else,” said Lambert.
But Lambert’s experience as a repeat customer is actually rare. A recent study by Porch.com (my parent company) found that only 8% of repeat home buyers have used the same realtor more than once.
Why do 92% of recent home buyers search elsewhere? What causes this gap in return customers, and what can realtors know to navigate customer relationships better in 2020– even during a pandemic? Here are a few things to keep in mind when marketing your services under “the new normal”.
Confidence Is Key With Nervous Buyers & Sellers
Recent studies show that both buyers and sellers are heeding caution during this time, with 70% of home sellers willing to take a lower asking price just to sell their home quickly, and 58% of recent potential buyers/renters putting their moving plans on hold until further notice.
As a realtor, it’s your job and responsibility to ease the stresses of the home buying and selling process to your current and future customers. Deep-dive on CDC recommendations. Learn what a safe home buying, selling process looks like. For example, some things to consider might be:
- When selling, make it a “no-contact” process for your sellers
- Create a process for virtual tours, and use technology to your advantage
- When showing to potential buyers, maintain six-foot distance and have proper PPE
Implement these procedures and communicate loudly and clearly that working with you will be a pleasant (and safe) experience.
And remember that this is a particularly sensitive time to conduct business, so the key here is to provide the latest and greatest safety measures and technologies with authority to put your current and future client’s minds at ease.
Update Your Reviews and Testimonials to be COVID-related
Successfully made a customer happy during this time? Great! Now, make sure you request an online review, especially with them addressing the safety precautions your team took to make sure things run as smoothly and safely as possible.
With 66% of prospective buyers polled by Porch finding their realtor from an online review, it is quite possible that hearing this type of pandemic-safety language might be exactly what your prospective customer needs to hear in order to make that call.
Hand Off Customers to People Who Also Practice Non-Contact
And reviews are not the only way technology can be your friend during this time. If you haven’t looked toward online collaboration tools for all things home searching, contract signing, and closing paperwork. Make sure to have your trusted lenders and insurance brokers ready to forward to your clients for an easy contactless closing/home searching process.
And always lead by example; be open to meetings via Zoom to replace the valuable face-to-face time you’d in the past use for coffee shop meetings.
Provide Extra Support Beyond The Norm
The Porch study also found that homebuyers aren’t reading the paperwork, with first-time homebuyers feeling especially unprepared. Coupled with pandemic nerves, this calls for some intervention.
Perhaps it’s a no-brainer that going above and beyond is good customer service, but knowing that paperwork is going unread, now would be an especially good time to prepare a conference or phone call to go over any questions or technical paperwork your client may need help deciphering.
After the sale, provide guidance on the safest way to move, provide a digital thank you gift (think: e-cards and Amazon gift cards), and simply just find any way you can to make an above-and-beyond connection with your customers, despite the lack of in-person attention you are able to give at this time.
Remain a Pandemic-Proof Realtor
Maintaining real estate customer relationships is hard, and while the pandemic certainly adds a new level of complexity to the mix, as a forward-thinking real estate agent, it’s important to look toward the signs of what a “new normal” might look like.
Lean on the proper technology to adopt now and potentially forever, and communicate to your past/future customers just how top of class your services really are. That will get you the rare repeat customer, no matter what outside variables you encounter.