As of this writing, the coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been declared a pandemic. What is still unknown is how far it will spread or how severe its long-term effects will be on public health and on the economy. While this story is still unfolding and there is a lot yet to be determined, here are some ways that the coronavirus outbreak could possibly affect real estate agents in the coming months:
1. Economic uncertainty may unsettle and deter some clients.
Buyers may be reluctant to proceed because of financial worries or because of the fear of exposing themselves to germs during showings, which could cause the market to soften for a period. Conversely, falling interest rates could help spur some buyers to action and help offset some of the possible decrease in traffic.
2. It may take longer for homes to sell.
If buyers are reluctant or take a wait-and-see approach, listings could languish on the market for longer periods of time than is typical.
3. Real estate professionals may notice an increase in cancelled appointments due to illness as the virus spreads.
Agents themselves may also have to cancel appointments, meetings, and event attendance if they suffer symptoms. The increase in symptom awareness and in quarantines may require heightened flexibility and adaptability in business.
4. As people avoid large crowds, open houses may not be viable marketing tools, at least temporarily.
Finding other creative ways to gain the attention of prospective buyers could be challenging for agents. Employing more detailed video tours could be one effective substitute for open houses, and increased social media sharing may help as well.
5. There may also be fewer professional meetings, seminars, and events which means fewer networking opportunities for agents.
During this time, it’s still important to find ways stay to grow professionally and to stay in touch with colleagues online through group text messages, remote meetings, and webinars.
6. Real estate professionals may need to take new sanitation precautions during showings to protect their clients and themselves.
Wiping down doorknobs and surfaces as well as providing hand sanitizer and wipes will likely become commonplace for a while.
7. Virus fears and common sense, proactive measures may mean less face-to-face contact with clients, and more communication by phone, text, and email.
Without the personal connection that can be so important in building relationships, agents will have to be extra vigilant in staying in touch and communicating with clients.
8. Instead of the traditional handshake to greet clients and seal deals, agents may need to find new ways to signal hello and congratulations.
Some professionals are instead employing fist bumps, elbow bumps, air high-fives, and bowing. Find a creative handshake substitute that you feel comfortable doing, and be the first to initiate it to avoid any awkwardness.
In uncertain real estate markets, it’s more important than ever to add value to your service, listings, and transactions by making sure to include HSA Home Warranty coverage. HSA home warranties can give real estate professionals an extra edge that can make a difference to buyers and sellers. HSA offers comprehensive plans and a service network of more than 15,000 service professionals that can enhance real estate transactions in any type of market. Contact your local HSA Account Manager today for more information.