When times are tough, great real estate brokers and agents get creative. Although the COVID-19 pandemic will have a significant impact on both commercial and residential real estate, innovative, creative, and service-oriented brokers are turning to technology and their people skills to keep deals flowing.
We reached out to real estate professionals to find out how they are weathering the storm, staying positive, and using downtime to their best advantage. Here are a dozen uplifting insights from brokers and agents throughout the U.S.
- "We are likely to see asset classes like senior housing and medical facilities weather the storm the best and see consolidation in the hospitality industry. The operators that didn't have sufficient cash reserves and strong balance sheets may create buying opportunities, especially for private equity investors who have been waiting for a pullback." — Brion Crum, SVP, Caliber Companies, Arizona
- "COVID-19 has led to a reluctancy of some, but not all, buyers and sellers. They'd prefer to wait and see how things evolve over the next few months. Also, we cannot do open houses or in-person showings now and are instead using video via smartphones." — Ajay Gohil, Real Estate Agent, Toronto
- "It has made the market of serious buyers more competitive in certain price points. I have been in two multiple offer situations in the past week and one I lost to a nurse as she was, understandably, favored for her contribution. For listings, I am making it much more personal. I also ask and see how they are managing at this time and ask them to share my videos with their clients." — Christian Ross, Managing Broker, Engel & Völkers Atlanta
- "I'm treating this time as "off-season," shifting my focus to refining my business operations and reestablishing rapport with my VIP network." — Jake Tasharski, Real Estate Broker, Illinois
- "COVID-19 has changed the way I work in a lot of ways. The first being that my three young children are now home from school so my husband and I take turns between parenting and working. Second is that I prefer doing most of my work in person — visiting with clients in their homes, connecting with colleagues in the office, and viewing many open houses per week. COVID-19 and 'social distancing' have caused me to feel disconnected from my work, but on the bright side, I've never felt more connected to my immediate family. When this is over, I know my business will be busy, and I will be grateful for this uninterrupted time I've had with my family." — Kate Fisher, Real Estate Broker, Compass, Illinois
- "If a property is empty, I open all the doors and cabinets with gloves on, and people are advised not to touch anything to minimize the risk. I never thought gloves would be essential supplies, but I can't work without them!" — Sue Vine, Broker and Realtor®, Sue Vine Real Estate, Toronto
Going Touchless With Technology
- "Pre-pandemic, video walkthroughs were used for out-of-town clients. But now, I'll suggest that I record a video walkthrough for in-town clients to avoid unnecessary exposure for both buyers and sellers. This makes me an even more trusted and crucial part of the buying process." — Nancy Brook, MBA, Broker and CEO, Billings Best Real Estate, Montana
- "We used a combination of Typeform, Squarespace, Google Docs, and email to create an instant pricing model for home staging through our website instead of meeting any of our employees in person. We've been able to enact strict social distancing and disinfecting protocols because of the technology platforms we've been able to adapt quickly. We've been able to make our entire client experience "touchless" from start to finish." — Justin Riordan, Founder, Spade and Archer Design Agency, Los Angeles, Oregon and Washington
- "The impact of COVID-19 has been minimal, mostly affecting how we show homes. We are not doing open houses, but we have been able to take advantage of the newer technology and virtual applications for consultations, showings, executing paperwork, and drive up closings." — Kelly A. Domaille, Broker Associate/Productivity Coach, Domaille Real Estate at Keller Williams Premier Realty, Minnesota
- "We have not seen a decrease in business since the COVID-19 pandemic, but we do work a little differently. The majority of my employees now work from home using the same remote technology I used to expand my business over the years. We have customers that will take pictures of the interior of their home and buildings and email them to us, so we do not have to enter the home." — Mason R. Spurgeon, Owner, Spurgeon Appraisals, Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa
- "A lot of the work has gone paperless and digital, and that includes the closings which have often been ceremonial with many parties physically meeting in one place. For my upcoming closing, for example, my buyers have an option of doing a 'drive-through' closing where documents are handed to them to sign while in their car, or do a virtual closing with documents witnessed for signature via FaceTime, with the documents sent back overnight." — Susan Bozinovic, Realtor®, Susan Realtor®, Michigan
- "Over the past week or two, we have experienced an uptick of digital viewers for our listing websites, videos, and social media marketing. By creating compelling and informational digital content, we can keep buyers engaged in the market and informed at this time." — James Harris, Residential Investment Agent, Million Dollar Listing, California
Use Your Time Wisely
Savvy agents and brokers are using this time to improve their technology skills, build their databases and research new opportunities for investors and buyers. If you manage a team, stay close to them via video chats and exude a positive and helpful spirit to keep them motivated.
Because real estate is a relationship business, brokers and agents can also simply reach out to past clients to find out how they are doing during this challenging time. This is now a great time to engage and give back to your community. For example, Sotheby's agent Robin Wittich Tarta partnered-up with a local restaurant in New Jersey to support a local mental health facility. She gave the restaurant props on social media too, spreading the love even further. Connecting as a caring human rather than a salesperson — especially when we're all separated — leaves a lasting impression.