Stay safe and sell real estate with these practical tips
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
Real estate is a contact sport, where handshakes are like tackles and closings are like touchdowns. But what happens when you can’t shake hands? That’s our reality in 2021. In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, we now abide by social distancing guidelines. This means that, to be safe and protect yourself and others, you can’t shake hands, you must maintain a distance of six feet, and here’s the kicker—you shouldn’t meet in person unless you absolutely must.
But how do you effectively sell real estate in 2021 while navigating around social distancing guidelines?
Don’t worry. Your real estate services are still in demand, and you don’t have to put your business on pause. In this post, we’ll share tips on how to score in real estate even though the rules have changed.
If you want your real estate business to thrive in 2021, you must build a digital presence. This includes creating a website and blog, showing up on social media, and maintaining an email newsletter. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, buyers rely on the Internet even more these days to find a home and an agent. Sellers do too. To get more clients, create a strong presence online. Here’s what you need to do:
You need a website for your real estate business. This way, when people search for local real estate related information, such as neighborhood guides, your name and business show up in the search results.
Social media is a must for marketing your business. While not everyone will know about or come to your website, everyone knows about Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube (yes, YouTube is considered social media). So, if your prospective clients hang out at these places, you should, too.
Start slow. Choose the one social media platform that you’re the most comfortable with and establish a presence there. Then, after you feel comfortable, expand to a different platform.
Your goal on social media is to build a community so that your prospective clients can start to trust you and view you as an authority. You also want to stay in touch with your former clients, and social media provides the perfect platform to do that, too.
One of the easiest ways to stay in contact with your clients is through email newsletters. These are weekly emails that you send out to inform buyer or seller prospects about the latest happenings.
To build your email list, simply ask people to sign up on your website. Use a freemium service like ConvertKit or MailChimp as your email marketing service. These tools provide invitation forms that you can add to your website and blog.
Split your email list into two groups: One for buyers and one for sellers. Then send out two newsletters: For buyers, you can show recent listings and offer home buying advice. For sellers, you can share industry news or advice on staging or selling a home quickly.
This is perhaps the best thing you can do for your real estate business right now: Create a Google My Business listing. Google My Business is a free tool offered by Google that enables your real estate business to show up on local Google searches. So when someone searches for “real estate agents,” your name and website can pop up on Google Maps and in the local search immediately below the maps.
Prospects are more likely to click on these listings when searching for real estate services. Optimized Google My Business listings include contact information, hours of operation, ratings, website, and directions. If you’re not on Google My Business, your real estate business is basically invisible and you could be losing a lot of potential clients. Get Google My Business listing for free here.
In addition to email newsletters, which we mentioned above, it’s also a good idea to master your one-on-one emails. In the age of social distancing, emails (along with phone calls and text messages) will help you stay connected with your clients.
But don’t just send out boring emails. Create video emails.
Use BombBomb, a video email marketing platform, to send short videos to your clients. These valuable snippets can take the place of in-person meetings without robbing your client of that in-person feel. With video, you can do multiple things at once:
With video, you can continue to connect with your clients, even if you’re not meeting face to face. You can answer questions by hitting record on your smartphone. Video emails are a game changer for your business and will give you an advantage over agents who don’t do it.
While you are able to meet in person, it’s best to minimize in-person meetings as much as possible to reduce exposure. Everyone will feel more relaxed if they’re able to meet in the comfort of their own home or office.
These tools are free, popular, and easy to access by most people—on desktop and on smartphones.
But here’s a word of caution: Don’t automatically assume that your client has or knows how to use a particular tool, even one as ubiquitous as Zoom. Always provide detailed but easy-to-follow instructions on how to download and use your preferred video-conferencing tool. Even record a video of how to do it. Assume that you’re providing instructions for your 80-year-old grandmother, and you’ll strike the right tone.
Here are other things to keep in mind when doing virtual meetings:
What happens when you need to show a property but you can’t meet in person? Go virtual. There are a lot of great tools on the market that allow you to provide video and virtual tours to home buyers while still maintaining social distance.
Use Homesnap Stories to provide a video tour of the property, like you would in an open house. You can do a virtual walkthrough with voice overs. Then add text, music, emojis, and real estate-themed stickers to make your videos pop. Share your video on Homesnap, a popular real estate search portal that many house hunters use. You can also add the video to Instagram and Facebook.
In addition to video tours, you can provide a virtual tour of the property. This virtual tour can be shared on your website or the property’s listing page so that buyers can understand how the rooms flow together. Use Canvas.io and your smartphone to create a 3D capture of the home.
Another option is to stage virtually. Virtual staging means digitally adding furniture to an empty room. It’s easier to sell a staged property because it helps buyers understand the space and the possibilities. You can use the same 3D capture tool, Canvas.io, to create a 3D capture of the space and then find a virtual staging service, like BoxBrownie or RoOomy, to add realistic furniture to the space.
Meeting in person is inevitable. Here’s how to follow safety protocols when meeting with your clients:
You don’t have to be present during home tours. You can leave the key in the lockbox and give clients the code so they can tour themselves. Consider leaving gloves and even face masks at the entrance to encourage safe touring practices. After the appointment, go through and disinfect the key, lockbox, and surfaces within the property, including door knobs, cabinet handles, light switches, and countertops.
The pandemic and social distancing guidelines have definitely complicated the process of selling real estate, but don’t let that discourage you. By embracing technology and thinking creatively, you can have your best real estate year ever.