Whether you refer to it as COVID-19, SARS-COVID-2, or simply the Coronavirus, the pandemic associated with this virus has generated widespread media attention, panic, and concern for our health and safety.
In addition to the health and safety concerns, the economic impact of Coronavirus has created uncertainty in a variety of industries, which includes wild swings in the Dow Jones and other financial markets.
Truth be told, the Coronavirus has caused plenty of panic in the real estate industry, and with the memory of the housing crisis from about a decade ago, there are concerns that we could be headed down a similar path in 2020 and beyond.
In this post, we want to shed some light on the important statistics to observe, what the short-term and long-term future may hold, and share some tips that will allow you to stay productive and optimistic during these tough times.
A History of U.S. Home Prices
In a world of uncertainty and panic, it always helps to have statistics and data on hand to make informed decisions. As we will see in this section, stock market fluctuations and home property values rarely go hand-in-hand.
Below is a graph, courtesy of the Fed Bank of St. Louis, which illustrates the average home values dating back to 1963. Additionally, the shaded areas indicate when the U.S economy was in a recession.
For real estate agents under the age of 40, you probably don’t remember much about the recessions before 2008 (unless you really paid attention in your ECON 101 classes). A term known as “Stagflation” which triggered the mid-70s recession, and the Savings and Loans crisis in the mid-80s which also triggered the Junk Bond crash in 1989 are all recessions that occurred in a pre-Internet, 24-hour information world.
If you take a look at the graph, you’ll notice that with the exception of the 2008 Financial Crisis, home prices have stayed relatively flat or even grew during most of these recessions.
Granted, the Coronavirus pandemic is a much different issue than financial or housing crisis issues, but one pattern we can decipher from the past is clear: investors tend to move capital from the stock market into real estate during times of fear.
Some real estate agents and teams may be worried about what happened in real estate in 2006 through 2010, but the landscape is much different in 2020. For example, homes were being built everywhere in the mid-2000s, and the inventory of available homes far outweighed the demand.
Today, we are seeing record-low inventory in many popular markets, and since the Fed has cut mortgage rates to their lowest in history, buyer demand is going to be shooting through the roof!
Even though the real estate market is in a great position to flourish in the short- and long-term, real estate agents and teams are still facing a dilemma:
People can’t leave their home, how can I show homes? How can I stay engaged with my prospective clients when I (mostly) have to stay home?
In the next section, we will provide some tips to stay engaged and productive with current and prospective clients.
Be a Source of Calm and Information
It seems like every hour, there is a new update or headline that can be downright scary for people. As a real estate agent with access to social media, email, and texting, you have an opportunity to be a calm source of information for those in your contact list.
It could be as simple as providing updates regarding any kind of school closures and business closures in your community, non-profit organizations that are providing help to those who need it, connecting people who can help with those in need, etc.
Be calm, be positive, and provide value to those in your community. You never know how these gestures can manifest themselves later down the road.
Utilize Technology for Showings and Meetings
If no one is leaving their home, you can’t possibly conduct consultations and showings, right?
Wrong. Thanks to the technology we have access to, including FaceTime (Apple users), Skype (Microsoft) and Hangouts (Google), a savvy real estate professional can show a home while their clients can simply stay safely confined to their place of residence.
Need a solution that is a little more scalable? A service such as RICOH Tours makes it easy to provide virtual tours of your listings, which can save you countless hours of time. Plus, since even the best smartphones can provide less-than-stellar video quality during a live stream, a virtual tour will be far more professional, and would only require you to tour the property once.
Learning to use video conferencing software such as Zoom can also make it easy to communicate “face to face” with clients, which can be a bit more personal compared to a phone call. Video conferencing software, combined with the power of DocuSign, will allow you to share and sign important documents while keeping every party involved safe.
Marketing With a Purpose
Even if it’s weeks, months, or even years before people feel safe once the COVID-19 crisis is over, there is still plenty that can be done to set you and your real estate business up for success. It may take a while before you can close on any leads you generate, but that’s okay; the more leads you can obtain, the better your chances are of converting them later on.
Use this time of social distancing wisely. Keep your contacts up-to-date on what the market is doing via social media, email, and direct mail; stay consistent, and as we alluded to above, stay positive!
Since everyone is encouraged to stay home, hold a live Q and A on Facebook or Instagram, and answer questions, read a children’s story, juggle; anything that encourages engagement and gets your name and your brand known.
By staying productive and proactive, you will not only set yourself up for future successes, but you will have less time to worry about the Coronavirus and its impact on the world.
Above all else, we hope everyone and their loved ones all over the world stay safe and healthy.
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How are you utilizing your time during this crisis? What has been the most effective in helping your clients and those in your community? Let us know in the comments below!
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