With social distancing regulations now largely in place across North America, many agents are prohibited from holding open houses.
But rather than sit idle, there’s much you and your clients can do now to prepare for the day when the wheels of commerce start rolling again. Buyers can improve their buying position, and sellers can get their homes list-ready with a few proactive steps.
“I believe when this thing turns, I think we’re going to see a rocket ship take off,” says Daryl Rogers, President of Better Homes & Gardens | Reliance Partners, Roseville, CA. “People are going to want to get the economy moving. There will be pent-up buyer demand and sellers who couldn’t list. Everything is going to hit big.”
While it can typically take two to three weeks to get a property on the market, Rogers says he’s telling his agents to use this time to get homes list-ready now.
That way, once the shelter in place and stay at home orders are lifted, you and your clients can hit the ground running.
Be the first to market with these helpful agent tips and downloadable checklists for buyers and sellers.
Ask your sellers to take a video of their homes now. For helpful video-taping tips, see downloadable Sellers’ Checklist (downloads as zip file). There are many easy-to-use digital platforms for creating virtual walkthroughs and 3D scans in addition to simple videos recorded on a smartphone.
Now is also the time to consult with active home shoppers to find out what they’re looking for in a house. Send them digital recordings of 3-5 listings, get their feedback to help pinpoint the search and work both sides.
Using a polished presentation that demonstrates you took the time to research and customize your presentation to the seller’s house puts you in prime position to win the listing. Dotloop offers a free downloadable, customizable listing template with a place to consult, showcase your past sales, share stats on their home and more.
Help your clients speed-up the home buying and selling process with these handy checklists.
As Rogers points out, there are some people who were displaced when the coronavirus suddenly changed life as we know it. Some sellers were caught between homes when shelter in place orders prevented them from buying or moving into a new home. Further, many medical doctors and other first responders have concerns about going home after their shifts for fear of cross-contaminating their families.
You may see demand building from people whose delivery services, technology products or telemedicine services are thriving in this economy. Many of these buyers will look to you for guidance and solutions now rather than wait 3-4 months down the line.
Many of the larger real estate portals allow the agent or the seller to update a home’s information. If you don’t yet have professional photos, consider adding the details of any updates or renovations. In some cases, real estate portals will factor this into their AVM (Automated Valuation Model), raising the estimated value of your listing.
Agents should strongly encourage their motivated buyers to start gathering (digitally) their tax returns, 401(k) statements, pay stubs and other financial documents needed for prequalification. Refer lenders to get the process in motion and to take advantage of today’s low rates.
While on the subject of money, caution clients to mind their cash flow and expenses. While they might not feel the hit right now, Rogers warns, they don’t want to be doing lots of online shopping now if it’s going to cut into their down payment funds later.
In this unconventional market, it may be that the first who calls wins. Don’t wait until the shelter in place order is lifted to book your service providers. Photographers, stagers and home repair teams will likely be inundated with calls from other sellers hoping to be first to market. Create an action plan that kicks off as soon as a date is announced as to when the shelter in place order lifts, then be first to pick up the phone following that announcement.
Depending on your state laws, you may be able to arrange a home inspector to videotape a property now. This will help cut the wait time once a buyer expresses interest in the property.
Transaction management platforms can help engage buyers and sellers with transactions set up in advance of the actual transaction. With dotloop, for instance, you can load your action plan/task list to each listing loop and add any necessary documents as needed as you adjust the listing date, extend the listing or pre-market the home in a “Coming Soon” status.
Some agents are reporting offers made “sight unseen” in today’s market. If you have a hot prospect who’s sure they’ve found “the one,” an earnest money offer sent digitally can help hold the property until the doors reopen.