As the head of a real estate team, remote work might sound impossible to you. Real estate agents do not sell properties working from home. But COVID-19 is forcing us all to change the way we work in order to keep making money.
Your real estate business has to adapt to the new realities of social distancing if you do not want to close down entirely. Luckily, we have compiled remote work best practices for you and your real estate team to help you run operations smoothly and keep on closing deals.
Real Estate Marketing in Times of COVID-19
Before we jump into managing a remote team, there is one aspect of remote work to discuss: real estate marketing. This crisis is slowing demand for real estate properties. One of the best things you can do for your real estate team is making sure you are still in business so they feel their jobs are safe and do remote work with dedication. That is why we recommend focusing your real estate marketing around the following points to be successful:
- The Federal Reserve’s benchmark interest rates are almost zero, which can bring down mortgage rates. This is a great argument to use with your home buying clients to calm them about the coronavirus impact on the mortgage industry.
- Some people are expecting babies and they still need bigger houses.
- Some people will want to move closer to elderly parents to be able to help in case of an emergency.
- Yards and outdoor spaces have become top amenities now that people are stuck at home. A garden to grow lettuce and have the kids and dog out has become a luxury for people living in condos, for example. Some will want to get more freedom in case this all repeats someday.
- People with job uncertainty may be more willing to sell and downsize to save on mortgage payments.
- Vacation homeowners might want to sell if they are unable to use it or rent it this year. To save on the maintenance costs, prices might be lower than expected.
- Homesellers in need of money are likely to decrease the price in order to sell faster.
People also have more time to look at online listings now. This is an ideal opportunity for your real estate team to get leads warm.
Managing a Remote Team
Maybe it would not be so hard if it was just you working remotely, but now your entire real estate team needs to be telecommuting. Here are a few ways to communicate effectively with a remote team and show strong leadership.
- Use a video conferencing software tool like Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts for meetings and important discussions.
- Use a chat tool like Slack for everyday communication on both work and non-work related topics. Any form of socializing will keep your remote team close and more motivated while working from home.
- Hold short daily meetings to catch up and reconnect even if there is nothing urgent to discuss. Maybe do a daily roundup on relevant news to keep everyone up-to-date.
- Have all meetings scheduled in everyone’s calendar so there are no misunderstandings or time spent waiting for people to join. This will help your real estate team plan their daily tasks better, too.
- Follow a strict meeting agenda to keep calls short and productive.
- Think twice before setting up a meeting that could be an email. There is no need to spend all day on video calls.
Remote Work Policy
Having a clear remote work policy will make telecommuting for your real estate team and you much easier. Tell them what is expected from them, how targets are adjusted, and what tools they can use. It is very important to let them know what support the real estate agency can provide – hardware (monitors from the office, for example), software, protective equipment, high-speed internet, etc.
Also, working from home brings its own problems so plan to accommodate the reality of working from home: kids being around all the time, meal prep, longer waits at the grocery store, the need for physical activity. Remote work will not happen between 9 and 5 as you are used to. But with good communication and support, your real estate team should be able to get it done.
Remote Work with Real Estate Clients
The most important thing about being a real estate agent is interaction with clients. What about those sellers who are relying on you to sell their property, crisis or not? Here are a few remote work best practices for communicating with clients.
Instead of meeting in person, for remote work, you can use the same video call tech to meet your clients, just like you do with your real estate team. This way you will be able to see their facial expressions and non-verbal signals to better understand their intentions and feelings about what you are showing them.
You can also use a tool like Mashvisor to share property listings matching any criteria with them. Mashvisor puts together listings from many websites so you can offer any kind of property to buyers anywhere in the US, making remote work very effective. The best perk is that Mashvisor conducts an investment property analysis on the listing, which you can also send along so your clients see its investment potential, rate of return, and projected rental income. You can even give your clients access to the platform to allow them to conduct their own analysis from the safety of their homes. Learn more.
People will have more time to talk on the phone now, too, because everyone understands the situation. This will help with real estate clients in a different time zone or those who are looking for an investment property out of state.
Another positive aspect of the quarantine is that second homes and rentals are free for viewings. While the sellers are isolating at home, those properties can be shown to buyers – with protective measures, of course.
To increase your visibility to real estate investors and homebuyers, claim your free agent profile at Mashvisor.
Being forced to work remotely can actually set your real estate agency forward. Hosting an open house online is a great example of turning lemons into lemonade. It is a modern approach that millennial homebuyers will like. It keeps everybody including yourself safe in the process and it is also fun so members of your real estate team might even fight over the opportunity to do it (and get out of the house). It would be shorter than a typical open house because people are not that patient to watch for 3 hours.
An online open house can be hosted on Facebook Live or on a platform like Zoom. The benefit of using Zoom is that it lets you collect contact details (with a paid account) or limit access to leads you gather through a lead generation page on your website. It also has an in-video chat where viewers can ask questions and your real estate team can answer in real-time.
You can also continue into one-on-one meetings after the open house presentation on the same platform or move to Skype if your leads are more comfortable with it.
Your real estate team probably worries if they will be able to close deals while working from home. Gathering restrictions and public buildings shutdowns are a problem for closing real estate deals, but it is still possible. Some counties accept closing documents online, via post or by appointment. For now, notaries and appraisers still work.
Managing remote work with your real estate team can look challenging, but there are best practices to take away from other industries that have been working this way for a long time. Make use of the available technology and be prepared for a different time schedule. Those real estate agents that innovate will get ahead of the curve.