How the Coronavirus has impacted our industry.
In the light of the Coronavirus, we’re all practicing social distancing, and depending on where you are in the United States of America, you have different degrees of restrictions on what we can do as Realtors. It can feel overwhelming because some people are unable to go out and show property or list property, and I’ve seen that to be the biggest concern among our clients here at Icenhower Coaching & Consulting. There is also a general concern with how we’re going to continue to practice as Realtors in this new world where we’re advised to stay in our houses.
We have an obligation to keep the market moving.
You may hear government officials telling those of us who can work at home to please keep working. We need to keep our economy pumping. If we are able to work and conduct a business that employs a lot of people and that keeps the market moving, we can do a lot more than just help ourselves. Realtors are the engine of this thing, once again. We need to be innovative and get it done.
We have a fiduciary duty to our sellers and our buyers.
A lot of our clients need to buy and sell. When it comes to sellers, if everybody’s just agreeing to hold their property off the market right now, that is going to limit supply. And when you have this limited inventory that limits supply, but you still have this unreal high demand that we had coming into this crisis, it will drive prices up.
As a result, a seller has a strong negotiating power if they do stay on the market right now, providing some semblance of housing inventory for all these hungry wolves that we call buyers. You have almost no competition. If we, as Realtors, can serve these sellers and help them stay out there and make their home accessible to view, we can at least give it a shot.
Let’s save our industry together.
As Realtors, we have the technology to conduct Virtual Showings with our clients. And if we make this work, this could not only save our industry, but it could also save lives, careers, and have a huge impact on the health of our economy. This is more than just saving your own job; this is big.
We’ve recorded a quick demo of what a virtual showing could look like. It is simple, and there has never been a better time to embrace the technology available to us.
How to conduct a Virtual Showing
Download an easy-to-use app.
We use Zoom but there are a variety of different video conferencing apps that you can use. Zoom is free and therefore accessible to everyone, and it is also very user friendly. The seller is inviting the Listing Agent, the Buyers Agent, and the buyer into their home, virtually. Each person should download the app to get started. Note that the only person that needs the mobile app is the seller, everyone else can use the desktop version from the comfort of their home.
Do a trial run with the seller.
Talk to your seller about how to download the Zoom app to their mobile device, how to operate their phone, and conduct a trial run Virtual Showing with them. Walk them through the process from start to finish. This will help you get a feel for any issues you could run into when the buyer is watching, and will help you find things to adjust like speed, lighting, and iron out any technical issues.
Remember that too many hiccups and technical difficulties will greatly deter your client. You want this to go smoothly. Here are a few things to practice and adjust: Pace, lighting, meeting view, mute, and record.
Pace: slow your roll.
Slowly pan the whole room and stop frequently. Go more slowly than you think you need to go. Remember, this is new. People are accustomed to browsing homes at their own pace. Take your time and shoot from the corners of your rooms, panning slowly, to give the best overall view.
Lighting: brighter is better.
If the home being shown has amazing natural lighting, don’t count on it coming through well on your video. Video makes everything look darker. Be sure to turn on any lights available to help the viewers see the features of the home more clearly.
Meeting view mode.
Gallery View vs. Active Speaker View is an important distinction. While Gallery View allows each participant to see everyone at the same time, Speaker View will allow the person who is presenting their home to appear the largest, which is very important for being able to see the details of the Virtual Showing. While in Active Speaker View, tell your seller to “keep speaking” as they show their house, because this will ensure that their video will stay enlarged as they present their home. For help on this, Zoom has some extra guidance.
Find the Mute button.
Because everyone is at home during your Virtual Showing, there are bound to be interruptions and loud sounds that can derail the tour. A dog barking, or children that are home from school running around in the background … Mute it. The seller will be presenting their home and if you are in Active Speaker View mode, every time that dog barks or that child talks, the view will toggle to where the noise is coming from. Muting it will allow the seller to continue to present front and center.
Make a recording of your Virtual Showing.
With Zoom, you have the capability to record the Virtual Showing so the buyer can re-watch it later. And, with permission from the parties involved, you can send it to other potential buyers as well to show them what a Virtual Showing could look like for them.
Realtors, this is our time.
We, as Realtors, need to band together to change the perception that we can’t do business during the coronavirus crisis. Yes, things are different, things have changed drastically, but there are ways we can adjust the way we do business that has a tremendous potential to save jobs at a time when many industries are completely shutting down.
This isn’t just for you. This is for all the Realtors you know. Remember, we’re going to have to convince our buyers and sellers that we can still do business. This is a time to share and spread the word.
I can’t say this enough – we are out in front of an industry right now that is paralyzed, that really thinks that we can’t do business. We need to change that perception, and we’re going to do it Virtual Showing by Virtual Showing, agent by agent. Educate other Realtors on the power of conducting Virtual Showings for a greater impact, because we need to do this together. Share this blog, this video, this Facebook post and start practicing.