As real estate professionals around the world grapple with the realities of COVID-19, it’s important to take a thoughtful approach to how you will talk about the virus with your clients through your blog or real estate newsletter. While ignoring COVID-19 altogether could make you seem out of touch to your clients who are currently experiencing anxiety due to the pandemic, taking the time to address it thoughtfully can help position yourself as a real estate expert. Here’s how to bring up COVID-19 in a meaningful way in your marketing material.
1. Viewings in a time of social distancing
One significant hurdle facing real estate agents is how to show prospective buyers homes during a time when federal guidelines recommend not leaving your house. Many real estate agents are opting to host virtual open houses or virtual viewings to promote their listings. Maybe you like virtual viewings or perhaps you don’t think they garner results. Whatever your opinion is, let your clients know. They’ll be looking for your perspective and expecting you to lead the way.
2. Answer financial questions
Even though you’re probably not a financial planner and might not necessarily feel comfortable giving financial advice, chances are your clients are going to be asking you some personal finance related questions. The lowered federal interest rate and the temporary pause on mortgage payments that some jurisdictions are instituting are just some of the questions clients will have right now. They’ll also definitely want to know how the current events could impact their home value.
It’s OK not to have the answers to these questions, but you can still function as a resource for your clients by interviewing a financial planner and posting the answers in a “question and answer” format in your marketing emails or on your blog. Being someone who can connect your clients to resources makes you a valuable resource yourself.
3. Find lessons in history
Part of what’s so scary for many people with the COVID-19 pandemic is that they’ve never seen anything like this happen in their lifetimes. Even though this pandemic is unprecedented, there have been global crises that we can learn from throughout history. You can even draw lessons from our most recent recession in 2008 to help explain what could happen moving forward. Connecting your clients to other, similar moments in time can help them feel more grounded as they anticipate the future.
4. Create a dialogue
You probably received many emails when the COVID-19 news was beginning to break from companies that wanted to let you know how they’re handling the crisis — but have you heard from those companies since? Don’t just give your clients a list of information and the hunker down and stop thinking about them. Instead, involve them in an ongoing discussion. Follow up with each of your clients individually after you’ve sent out a mass email or posted a blog. Take the time to ask how they’re managing and find creative ways to support them.
5. Become a community resource
Many people look to real estate professionals as leaders in the community. You’d probably be surprised at the amount of people who are familiar with your name just from having seen it on signs around the neighborhood. Step into a role as a community leader and include resources that are hyper-local in your emails. This could be information on how people in the community can stay connected such as through neighborhood Facebook groups, Zoom happy hours or simply by sharing a list of local TikTok handles to follow. You can also compile a list of local restaurants converting to takeaway, pop up grocery stores and any other ways community members can help.
6. Give advice on home renovation projects
Many people who are quarantined at home are taking this time to do home renovations that they previously didn’t have energy to tackle. As a real estate agent, you have a wealth of knowledge on what renovations are best to make when it comes time for resale. Share this information with your email list or in a blog. You can back your hunches up with real data using Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value report or the historical data available on their website.
In addition to this guidance, you might also want to help your clients decide which renovations are simple enough to do at home and which ones are better to call in a professional to do after quarantine. As a real estate agent, you’ve probably seen your share of ambitious home renovations gone bad. Help keep your clients safe from such a fate by offering them sound advice for the most productive way to work on their property in this moment.
7. Offer commentary on real estate news
As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold, there will be an ongoing impact on the real estate industry. Your clients will be relying on you to unpack the news for them, shading in the commentary and positioning current events amongst greater trends. As you see news items that pertain to the real estate industry come up, use those moments to add your own commentary by writing a blog. These don’t have to be long, feature stories but can be your quick takes on what’s happening. You can be sure that clients are going to seek this information out from other sources, so better you provide it and continue to establish yourself as a leader in this moment rather than inadvertently sending your clients elsewhere.