As agents and brokers try to make sense of the new normal with social distancing regulation in place, customers will increasingly look to you for solutions and support as they navigate the possibilities of buying and selling a home.
3D scans and video walkthroughs, virtual staging and video emails, social content and, most of all, lots of clear communication are just a few of the ways you can help your clients find home as we ride out these turbulent times together.
If you’re a real estate agent suddenly tasked with the challenge of transforming a high-touch business into a fully remote, digital operation, here are six ways to make it work.
Objection: “I’m too nervous to buy a house right now.”
Communication is king now. When people are sheltering in place, sending a genuine, personable message of support can reach people in powerful ways. It tells your customers that you’re thinking about them and that you care. When done well, communication can build rapport for the lifetime of a relationship.
While it’s not a good practice to try and predict the real estate market’s future with clients, you can gently remind prospects that buying real estate in a bear market has historically been a wise long-term investment.
Here are some other ways to connect with clients and the community and keep the communication lines open:
- Create a webinar on virtual staging and “3D live houses” then video-market it.
- Share advice on inventory, interest rates and market conditions via email and social posts.
- Connect past clients with lenders to help with refinancing.
- Organize a community call-to-action to check in safely on elderly neighbors.
- Schedule a remote food donation drop-off for the elderly and less fortunate.
- Let buyers know that you have the tech to complete their transaction.
Objection: “Should I still close? The market is unpredictable.”
Regular communication is even more key for homebuyers who are in pending transactions. Check in regularly and often to let them know when the transaction is progressing smoothly. No news can be bad news in these times to the nervous homebuyer.
Conversely, be transparent when you hit a glitch. Throughout the process, step up your communication format with free teleconference tools that let you relate in real time. Skype, Zoom, FreeConferenceCall.com and FaceTime are a few platforms that let you talk and see all parties on screen.
Objection: “I don’t feel comfortable with people walking through my house.”
By being an advisor, an advocate and a source of information, you can educate prospects on your ability to turn a high-contact open house into a virtual “live house” with 3D scans, video tours and digital staging.
Because still shots make it hard to grasp the layout of a home, she can offer her listing clients a full photo shoot package with 3D and virtual tours, drone and around 50 still shots for about $500. When possible virtual staging is also used, but it’s easiest when the home is vacant or the rooms have minimal furniture.
So many real estate apps can offer home shoppers peace of mind by allowing them to tour and view a house without having to step foot inside.
Here are a few virtual and digital platforms to check out for your “live house”:
-Zillow 3D Home, Matterport, iStaging, EyeSpy360, Cubi.Casa
DIY Video Tours- Sellers can take their own video tours using a smartphone and maybe a gimbal mount or a mini tripod to help stabilize the video. You or the seller can then host the video tour via FaceTime or Skype.
Objection: “What if my state orders “shelter in place?” I need to find a house, but will I be able to view homes?”
Change and government action is moving at a fast clip right now. What might seem like a benign situation in your community today may be different next week. While some West Coast cities were still reporting multiple bids at open houses last week, new shelter-in-place orders changed those selling landscapes in a matter of days.
Don’t get caught unprepared. Prepare today by adding 3D scans to listings now and forge partner alliances with lenders, mobile notaries and other professionals who can help solve problems together.
Objection: “How are we going to close the transaction? I don’t feel comfortable coming into a brokerage or title office to sign documents.”
All-in-one real estate transaction platforms allow agents to share, edit and eSign documents with their clients within a fully mobile-first, digital system. An end-to-end platform will further let you refer third-party providers, like lenders and home warranty companies, while agents and admins can submit for review on their phones.
Many agents are closing deals with mobile notaries who watch as the homebuyer signs papers then notarizes them remotely. Notarize.com lets you legally sign and notarize documents 100% online, while OnlineNotary.net provides a remote notary platform to all 50 states with the help of a video call. Many title companies are using mobile notaries and a video teleconference platform, like Zoom or Google Hangouts, to watch and supervise the signing.
In addition to remote bank wiring, there’s Earnnest.com, which touts banking-level security and encryption to fully and securely transfer funds for real estate transactions.
Objection: “I’ve heard housing has come to a halt. Shouldn’t I wait until the economy rebounds?”
Letting customers know when you’re busy goes far to ease their worries and head off consumer panic. Updating posts with the current interest rates can also help create a sense of urgency.
Don’t miss this opportunity to reach out to investors. The dip in the market and low-interest rates sends a cue to investors who may be interested in purchasing single-family homes as sources of extra income.
Also, remind your home buying customers that the action they take today on today’s low-interest rates will spell big savings for 10, 20 or even 30 years down the road. For instance, a 30-year mortgage at 3.5% versus a 4.5% rate might save the customer $20,000 over a 30-year period. Under that scenario, buying now makes more sense than waiting until rates rise.
When done well, digital technology can reward with silver linings in new leads and ways to stand out from the competition. How are you helping to allay your customers’ fears and concerns? Please share it in the comments section below.