Since the pandemic began, I’ve seen buyers and sellers fall into two categories: those who need to move now despite the coronavirus, and those who have chosen to press pause on the moving process.
For those in the first group, we’ve seen all sorts of solutions arise to help buyers and sellers while maintaining social distancing, including virtual open houses and curbside closings.
But it’s equally important that we stay connected with clients who have delayed their moves. When the pandemic is over, they will still need to buy and sell, and in the meantime, they could use support from brokers during this confusing time.
Share your expertise
The Great Recession of 2008 was led by the housing crisis, and that’s the main frame of reference many people have for the economic downturn we’re experiencing now. Homeowners are terrified about how the novel coronavirus could impact the long-term value of their homes.
However, as brokers we know that this is not 2008 all over again. Prior to the pandemic, the Chicagoland housing market was very strong. If you think of that market as a faucet running at full force, the need for rigorous social distancing has slowed the stream to a trickle. But the value of homes in our area remains strong, and we expect the market to come back at full force after the worst of the coronavirus crisis abates.
Let your network know that you are happy to talk with them about the market and answer any questions they may have. You could also use social media or your blog to proactively share market information, along with details on how your brokerage is helping buyers and sellers conduct real estate transactions as safely as possible, alongside the rest of the industry.
Offer emotional support to your clients
Buying or selling a home is a deeply emotional experience in the best of times. During this pandemic, sentiments are heightened and uncertainty is adding a level of anxiety to even the most routine of transactions.
But this is where brokers have a vital role to play. For many of our clients, buying or selling a home is something they will do two or three times in their lives. For us, it’s a typical Tuesday. We should always strive to take that stress off of our clients.
Now is not the time to be selling to your network. It is a time to be there to answer questions and relieve concerns. Let your clients know they can reach out to you with any questions about the market or the buying or selling process, even if they are not currently looking to buy or sell.
Use creative ways to stay in touch
People are craving human connection right now. Luckily, technology has given us more ways than ever before to try to create community at a distance.
I’ve seen inventive brokers hosting virtual happy hours and chats over coffee on Zoom and Facebook. This is a great way to invite past clients, potential customers and others in your sphere of influence to connect. Virtual events such as these could offer excellent opportunities to answer people’s questions about the market, share community news and show your support for your neighbors.
As Realtors, we pride ourselves on being connected to our communities. Now is the time to strengthen those connections. Don’t focus on personal gain. Instead, look for where you can reassure others and help your fellow Chicagoans.
Brian Kwilosz is president of the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors and the designated managing broker and owner at EXIT Real Estate Partners.