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The COVID-19 outbreak in the United States has led government officials to enforce social distancing and other preventative measures. Many people are unaware that the real estate market is still going strong as there continues to be a demand for the buying and selling of homes this spring. During these challenging times, real estate agents need to transition from many traditional real estate practices to more modern approaches. With the availability of technology, agents can continue to work through various digital applications. 

Email continues as one of the more favorable methods of communication among business professionals this year. It is an excellent way to connect with people who are in different locations. Many agents are now revamping their existing email newsletters to include more information about their business. In other words, instead of only including links to property listings in your email blasts, consider including things like announcements, upcoming events, videos, online reviews, and links to your social media channels.

Another effective way to communicate with home buyers and sellers during this time of social distancing is through your Facebook page. Because people are quarantined at home, people are spending a significant amount of time on their social media accounts to interact with others. With this, be sure that you are spending time each week maintaining an active presence on your Facebook page. This is an excellent place for prospective buyers to post questions about your services, as well as a great place for you to post updates regarding the market and your services. Also, do not be afraid to share a wide variety of content, such as posts about the local community by highlighting small businesses. 

In 2020, we also have mobile apps at our disposal which allow real estate agents to not only market home listings but interact directly with clients. Popular shared video platforms include Zoom and Facetime, as they are viable options during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Over the last several weeks, social distancing and other preventative measures have been taken to reduce the spreading of COVID-19 in the United States. Americans are buying an excess of hand sanitizers, cleaning products, and face masks to protect themselves from the novel virus. While we must take steps to protect our health as individuals, we must also be mindful of small businesses during these challenging times. Despite the new norm set forth by social distancing measures, here are four key ways to support your local small businesses during COVID-19. 

Order takeout 

While many restaurants and bars are closed to the public, some are offering takeout only options to their customers. With a quick online search, you can easily see which restaurants in your local area are open for pickup or delivery. You can still practice social distancing by showing your support of nearby restaurants by ordering takeout a few times a week. Not only will you be giving yourself a break from cooking every meal, but you will be sending revenue to restaurants who need revenue at this time.

Purchase branded merchandise

We live in a digital age where many small businesses have both their own website and online store. If you want to support small businesses in your area, now is a great time to purchase branded merchandise such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, bumper stickers, phone cases, and other items that small businesses typically sell. 

Advertise with positive reviews

You can never underestimate the power of word of mouth. Positive reviews of a local business can spread like wildfire. Not only should you tell your friends and family members of open businesses, but you should also consider giving them some publicity over your social media accounts. You can do this by directing your online friends to their websites, creating your own posts, or resharing their content. 

Purchase gift cards

Many businesses today sell gift cards to their customers. During this period of social distancing, now is a great time to see if some of your favorite local businesses are selling gift cards online. By doing so, you are showing your support by suggesting to them that you will continue to be their customer even when COVID-19 subsides.

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Before the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, it was common practice for a real estate agent to meet with multiple people on any given day. Because real estate agents work in an industry that relies heavily on in-person meetings, they have had to shift gears with their day-to-day operations. Although some buyers and sellers are indeed holding off their real estate plans at this time, there are still many people who want to get a deal done this spring. Here are some steps that real estate agents can take to protect their physical health while working during COVID-19.

Practice social distancing 

Social distancing is one of the best ways we can prevent the spread of the virus. For the last several weeks, government officials have asked people to stay home whenever possible. If you need to meet with a client, be sure that you are keeping a distance of at least six feet. While this may make it difficult to connect with your clients, it is in everyone’s best interest to practice social distancing. 

Be well-equipped

There will come a point where an agent will need to meet clients in person or step inside a home. This is why real estate agents need to be well-equipped with hand sanitizers, gloves, and masks. It is also a good idea to have extra for your clients as well. 

Encourage virtual tours 

The COVID-19 outbreak has many real estate agents transitioning over to virtual tours. They have been extremely popular over the last several weeks as an alternative to in person home showings. Not only do they support the concept of social distancing, but they are time savers and help home buyers to narrow down their search. They allow buyers to gain a sense of what a home looks like from behind the screen of a digital device. Real estate agents should be encouraging buyers and sellers to use virtual tours during the COVID-19 to promote everyone’s safety.

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The COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S is leading real estate agents to adopt video conferencing applications in an unprecedented state of the industry. By using digital platforms to conduct business virtually, many agents are remaining successful without person-to-person contact. 

Shared video platforms like FaceTime and Zoom are viable options during this time of social distancing. From behind a screen, a shared video platform allows buyers to see a home in its entirety. These platforms have increased in popularity in the last several weeks, which may be beneficial to the industry moving forward. Because many agents are being forced outside their comfort zone from traditional real estate practices (in person meetings, open houses), we can expect a shift within the industry to more modern approaches to conducting business. In other words, we can expect a larger focus on technologies moving forward.

While there is a learning curve, agents should embrace new digital platforms to improve their day-to-day operations and a means of providing the best customer service possible. Here are two types of shared video tools commonly used by real estate agents today and some reasons why they are appealing options.

Zoom 

-A client can access it on their phone, tablet, desktop, or laptop.

-A client can join easily by clicking on a link (no download required for this platform).

-There is a recording feature that allows a user to save and document meetings.

FaceTime

-Extremely user-friendly. A client only needs to press a button to accept a call from the agent, making it an ideal choice for older clients.

-It is primarily used for one-on-one communications; however, can support several users on one call. 

-It is free! 

By implementing new industry practices, real estate agents can continue to grow their business while practicing social distancing in 2020. We should anticipate that shared video platforms will continue to grow in popularity even after the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end.

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For individuals who are currently attempting to sell their home, social distancing measures are presenting a new series of challenges for selling a property in 2020. Consider the following ways in which real estate agents can provide reassurance for prospective sellers during COVID-19. 

Explain the ways in which people are still buying homes. 

Many people are under the misconception that the market is stagnant at this time. With technology at our disposal, the real estate industry continues to flow this spring despite social distancing. One of the main reasons why homes are still being sold is because of the availability of video tours to showcase home listings. Apps such as Zoom and Facetime are becoming increasingly popular since the start of COVID-19. An agent can use these platforms to show interested buyers a home over digital devices in real time. Although most real estate transactions at this time are being modified, homes are continuing to sell in the U.S.

Encourage your clients to prepare their properties in quarantine.

If your clients are choosing to wait until the end of COVID-19 to sell a property, there are several steps that they can take to prepare during this period of quarantine. Encouraging your clients to use this time to make any necessary repairs, repaint walls, and declutter rooms, will help them to maintain a positive outlook and maximize their time spent at home. 

Emphasize an optimistic approach for the future.

Since most of the population has been under quarantine for the last several weeks, it is understandable that many sellers are having a difficult time with remaining optimistic. Although buyers in your area may not be attending open houses at this time, it does not necessarily mean they do not want to tour a home. With this, it is important to emphasize that sellers should remain focused on the future and understand that people will always need to buy homes.

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The COVID-19 outbreak in our country is making real estate agents reliant on digital technologies to show home listings. Today, we have mobile apps at our disposal which allow agents to not only market home listings, but interact directly with clients. Because many home buyers are unable to view a home in person, a virtual walkthrough is a viable alternative at this time. As we continue to practice social distancing and other safety guidelines, there are several actions that agents can take to ensure the success of their virtual showings in 2020 and beyond. 

Know your route 

Real estate agents need to plan ahead before hosting a virtual house tour. A potential buyer will see whether or not you have taken the time to do your homework before walking them through the home. The agent should know the path they will take before they host a virtual home tour. You want to be sure that progress through the rooms of a home in an order that makes sense. In other words, you do not want to be walking back and forth multiple times because you did not show the client an area of the home. 

Anticipate questions from buyers

As is the case for in person showings, the typical home buyer will ask several questions throughout a virtual showing. Because you will likely be prompted with a variety of questions from prospective buyers, you need to be ready for them. This is another area where preparation is key to hosting a successful virtual showing. You don’t want to find yourself in situations where you can’t answer a client’s questions because you did not plan for them.

Ensure there is quality lighting

Poor lighting is one of the more common mistakes a real estate agent can make when hosting a virtual showing. Unnecessary shadows can make it difficult for prospective buyers to see a home from their phone, tablet, and computer screen. Be sure to turn on all lights and open window shades throughout your home before you connect with a client digitally.

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