Real Estate in the Time of COVID-19- Impacts and strategies for Caribbean Realtors
Real Estate in the Time of COVID-19- Impacts and strategies for Caribbean agents
Currently in the times of this COVID-19 Pandemic, its important to stay on top of the news and closely follow government issued mandates with regards to public health. The impact on GDP and real estate can be enormous. According to a recent survey conducted by London-based real estate advisor Savills, the Global real estate sector is valued at $217 trillion total, and residential property makes up about 75% of the total value. Keeping this industry active through online networking and selling channels plays an important role to the global and local Caribbean economy that agents can continue to do safely!
In Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia and Barbados the government has issued a ‘Stay At Home’ order and asked for non-essential businesses to temporarily cease operations. Although the Real-Estate industry is deemed to be a non-essential service there are many online ways that agents can continue to market and open conversations with interested buyers and sellers!
Here are a few tips for agents and realtors to overcome hurdles and become a resource to help home buyers/renters find apartments for rent and homes for sale despite the current situation:
- The biggest asset to really take advantage off in this time of social distancing is to try to integrate with newer technologies provided by online multiple listing services like propsnoop.com which take your advertising responsibility online. This will also limit the physical interactions with clients while still ensuring the property listing gets its due.
- Focus on spending your limited funds towards targeted advertising by having your listings on organically popular rental home finders like propsnoop.com and optimize their research to make the most of facebook advertising, google ads and adding to to your email list.
- Now more than ever, it is crucial to ensure that you can provide clear and well lit pictures of houses for sale with prices and their interiors. Add as much of detail as possible.
- Try to hold virtual home tours for the next few weeks. Once regulations slightly loosen up, conduct virtual video tours via video conferencing services like WhatsApp video, Zoom, Skype, FaceTime etc.
- Try to film virtual home tour videos which begin outside the entrance and if possible show off the houses for sale with land surrounding, show the apartment from the entrance. Make sure you are slow and try to talk about the property or add a voice-over explaining the details.
- Take this time to build virtual networks with other agents and agencies to get the most of our the current market. Educate buyers about the current real estate market trends, share new articles and updates etc.
In this forced time-out, its important that agents and agencies utilize this time to educate prospective clients while still taking all precautions by socially distancing while still trying to make the process as personal as possible by optimizing pre-existing technology.
The biggest step to dealing with this problem is to be prepared. As the current COVID-19 pandemic is extremely volatile and government rules are subject to being constantly changing, agents need to get on top of this measure by practicing safety measures as prescribed by the WHO and Ministry of Health.
Even once lock downs get a bit more lax and offer more movement, Caribbean realtors and agents should still practice these simple tips to mitigate all risks of COVID from spreading:
- -Wash your hands and soap and water before your viewing
- -Encourage any prospective clients to also wash their hands.
- -Have small viewing groups
- -Maintain a 6 feet distance when physically showing a property.
However all hope isn’t lost, while this pandemic will affect the overall economy and especially real estate market, many experts expect a strong rebound by 2021 and this time could be used productively by taking new photo shoots of existing properties to upgrade each property’s online presence and start conversations with interested buyers that could convert into a sale in the near future.
In the meantime, let’s be prepared, stay up to date and build on our community and help each other out!
Stay safe – Stay At Home!