Many businesses have already felt the impact of the coronavirus on their revenue. Many business owners, restaurants and some specialty retailers, for example, are making adjustments as best they can by offering money-saving discounts and the convenience of home delivery. Other businesses do not have ways of having consumers access their goods and services during this time of social distancing.
So what about real estate? As a real estate professional, does your business have to take a big hit like so many other business owners do? I believe that if you believe you cannot adjust and do business in this environment, then you will not be able to. I believe those professionals who see the glass half-full will be the ones who make money during what could be a long, difficult situation.
RECOGNIZE THERE ARE STILL BUYERS AND SELLERS
Let’s look at some important numbers. According to the US Census Bureau, roughly 14%, or 40 million people, move each year. There are many reasons Americans either want to or have to change their residences. But the fact is that regardless of the pandemic, there will be people that need the real estate industry.
The NAR did a flash survey of over 70,000 members nationwide on March 16-17. The survey showed a big jump in decreased interest from buyers over the same period on March 9, from 13 percent to 37 percent. That number is 41 percent in areas with confirmed cases of the virus.
Let’s say that the decreased interest in buyers jumps to 50 percent. What does that mean? To the part-time agent… to the naysaying agent…. to the excuse maker… to the pessimistic agent… it means that their business is “doomed”. To the professional, full-time optimist, it means there are still 20 million Americans who will need to buy and/or sell a home. These professionals will adjust their marketing and their methods of doing business to get as much of that business as possible.
Let’s make the point even more tangible and local. The Multiple Listing Service for Miami-Dade County’s database shows 1,240 new listings for single-family homes and 1,652 new listings for condos were entered into the system during the period of March 1-18. While that is a drop over the previous month, it represents only a 4.8 percent drop in Single-Family listings and an 8.4 percent drop in condo listings.
The point is that there are still people that and want and need to sell their homes, as well as those that want and need to buy one. Who will get that business?
BE A PROFESSIONAL, TECH-SAVVY AGENT
I do not have exact numbers for how many agents are professional, full-time Realtors, as opposed to those who got their license in case they themselves or their Uncle Bill wanted to move. However, over the years of marketing to and helping brokerages, I have been consistently told that “less than half” of any given brokerage’s agents “do not produce”.
Never before has being a true expert in our profession been as important as it is now. An agent’s ability to not only understand but to communicate their understanding of various communities, market trends, property values, the utilization of technology to market and find properties – these things will separate the true professionals from those who have very little understanding of the actual business of real estate in the area.
There is a great advantage to being tech-savvy. Even if you are new, or relatively new, to the industry, you can set yourself apart by taking advantage of your understanding and expertise of digital marketing. Being new is a reason for home sellers to give you their listing.
Why would someone put their house on the market with you – right now? While the pessimists and “traditional” agents believe that no Open Houses or physical showings will prohibit their ability to get a home sold for as much as possible, today’s real estate professional sees this as a perfect time to list.
Imagine being able to tell a potential home seller, “Mr. Seller, most agents’ plan for marketing your property involves putting your house on the MLS, hoping buyers agents bring their buyers to an Open House, and maybe placing an ad in the local newspaper. But the fact is that in 2020 the most effective real estate professionals understand that over 95% of homebuyers begin their search on the internet – from their homes. Most “showings” nowadays don’t happen in person anyway; they happen online. High-Dynamic Range (HDR) photography, high-definition video, 3D media, and other virtual media provide buyers a thorough and comprehensive view of the features and character of a property.”
“According to recent studies (from Redfin and Realtor.com), as many as 20% of offers made on properties are made without the buyer physically visiting the property. A professional who understands digital marketing can generate hundreds, even thousands, of views of a property online, and therefore generate offers to initiate a negotiation. Negotiating with multiple buyers interested is what keeps the price of the property up. Having an expert negotiator who understands how to negotiate and utilize the Florida contract to your benefit will get your house closed more quickly and at the very highest price possible.”
Since customers are not physically available, utilize your skills and experience to meet them where they are…online. In this type of environment, being the tech-savvy agent who can utilize today’s digital technology to your customers’ benefit makes you more valuable than ever. Take advantage of it.
TAKE THE MESSAGE TO THE PEOPLE
I have suggested for years that older, experienced agents continue to get more business – not because they are more effective at marketing (because I don’t believe most of them are), but because homeowners don’t know any better. I can say with certainty that a high percentage of the most successful agents in Southwest Florida understand very little about digital marketing and the utilization of technology and advanced analytics to generate interest in a property.
They have their name and face on signs, so home sellers who don’t know any better give them their listings – which puts their name and face on more signs. It is an advantageous cycle for those agents who have to do little to garnish listings and make money. Two of the most successful Southwest Florida agents I know admitted to me that the key to their success was “knowing how to talk the seller down on their price.” So a less-experienced agent with an understanding of technology, digital marketing and basic economic principles doesn’t have to “talk the seller down on the price”, and could get a lot more for a home than this type of agent.
Now is the time to get the message out. Now is the time – when people have to do business from their homes – to let everyone know that you are the right agent at the right time for them. Get out in front of homeowners now. Let them know that now is a great time to sell their home WITH THE RIGHT AGENT AND MARKETING STRATEGY.
Tell sellers that they might have less competition in the market, and let buyers know they might get a much better deal on a house now. The point is that there are buyers and sellers now, and there will continue to be buyers and sellers. Instead of being one of the whiners who will make excuses why they do not succeed, step up and be the expert and the educator at a time when people need it most.
Am I wrong about this? Post a comment and let me know what you think. If you would like to take advantage of your downtime and learn more about one day opening your own real estate company, click [HERE] and I will send you some pertinent information and a free copy of the book, SCALE IT, YOUR GUIDE TO BUILDING A COMPETITIVE REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE.