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A Tough Market Survival Guide for COVID-19

Mar 21, 2020 10:53:17 AM

The market is uncertain at the moment, but your plan doesn't have to be. Be a smart agent and figure out a way to thrive no matter the conditions. 

When the market recovered after the last crash, the number of real estate agents was down significantly. The agents who survived were the ones who didn’t sit on the sidelines or go running for the hills. 

They are the ones who came up with an actionable plan to pull through and come out on top. And with the current market uncertainty, I want to give you a plan to do the same thing today.   

How can you be one of those agents that comes out on top, no matter how the conditions evolve? Essentially, you need a plan to follow that will give you actionable steps to take no matter what — steps that other agents likely aren't taking! 

There are four main steps to think about when you put together your own Tough Market Survival Plan. These steps might be tweaked a bit, depending on your niche, your local area and other factors. 

Here are the four basic steps in our Touch Market Survival Plan:

  1. Find the motivated sellers that need your help selling right now.
  2. Prepare to help these sellers with a top-notch virtual marketing plan and the right “calm and prepared” mindset. 
  3. Send these sellers your marketing materials and follow up to secure a listing appointment.  
  4. Do a Listing Presentation and show them how you can sell their homes for top dollar. 

Now, let's discuss each step in more detail. 

1. Find the motivated sellers that need your help selling right now.

Yes, there are sellers who are motivated to sell right now. You might have to work a little bit harder to find them, but since other agents might be cowering on the sidelines, you might not.

Here are the types of sellers that you should be approaching right now. 

Expired & Withdrawn Listings

These sellers tried to sell and failed. Many of them are highly motivated because they’ve been on the market for a while with no success. For many reasons (including financial) they are likely ready to get their homes sold. 

How can you find these leads? Your best bet is try the MLS or a paid service, such as Landvoice or TheRedx. 

For Rent by Owner Listings

Renting a home out when you're the owner is a high-risk move. Great tenants are hard to find and hard to manage when you aren't a full-time property manager. 

That said, most of these sellers would, in fact, be much better off selling their homes and getting cash, rather than remaining in or entering into a high-risk rental situation.

You can often find these leads on Zillow, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or “Buy/Sell” groups. Adjust your search settings for rentals. 

Vacant Home or Land Listings

When a home or lot isn't in use, it's sometimes simple to convince a seller to part ways with it for the right amount of cash. In the case of vacant lots, many sellers purchased their properties with the intent of building on them, though they never did. Similarly, a vacant home often indicates a family that moved on in a hurry. 

As you know, many of these sellers are highly motivated. Some of them may have lost their jobs or are having financial difficulties. Selling a home or piece of land can take a load off their shoulders and put extra cash in their pockets. 

These useful leads can be found through your local Property Appraiser or Tax Collector, or you can buy the leads from Melissa Data, AgentPro247, List Source or other lead providers. 

Inherited Home Listings

Heirs to a property must be approached with grace and empathy, or you will not get very far. But these are great leads, especially if you already have a buyer who may be interested in their home. 

Find these leads by searching through obituaries or doing a search for the word “Estate” on the tax collector or property appraiser’s website. 

Potential Listings from Past Clients and Sphere 

Don't forget to reach out to your past clients and any members of your sphere during this time. Anyone who is feeling restless about finances might be interested in selling sooner than you think. 

Send a friendly message through text or email, and ask them how they're doing with everything that is happening. Offer to help with whatever they need. Remember, during this time, people are looking for hope and optimism! 

In addition, you can post on Facebook and reach your online sphere. Remember to make it all about helping them, not just about getting listings. Be the sympathetic voice. Some people just need someone to talk to during these stressful times. If you do this right, then anyone who is thinking of selling will be more likely to list with you. 

Potential Listings from People in Financial Distress. 

Unfortunately, there will always be folks in financial distress, and there may be a few more now than usual. These people might be considering selling because of pre-foreclosure, being behind on their property taxes, or any other personal financial matters.

  • To find the Pre-Foreclosures, pull them up on Zillow. Or, you can contact your local courthouse and ask them for help finding the foreclosure files. A third option is to buy them from RealtyTrac or another provider.   
  • To find the people who are behind on their Property Taxes, contact your local Tax Collector, and they’ll show you how to access the information. In most areas, this information is Public Record. Then, get the Owner’s Name and Mailing Address from the Tax Collector or the Property Appraiser’s Website. You can find phone numbers on White Pages or Intelius.  

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2. Prepare to help these sellers with a top-notch virtual marketing plan and the right “calm and prepared” mindset. 

When the market is robust, almost any agent can list a home and it will usually sell. But when times are tough, your average agent just won’t cut it. That means you need a top-notch marketing plan to stand out. 

Here are some tips for crafting a smart virtual marketing plan. 

  • Consider virtual showing software options, like 3D or Virtual Tours, for listings. Offer to do virtual showings where you walk buyers through the property using a video conference, such as Skype. 

  • Make the pictures pop. Because buyers probably want to limit the number of homes they tour, you have to make them fall in love from their computer or phone screen. Don’t just tell them about the amazing views or private backyard. Have as many high-quality, professional photos of the home as possible. 

  • Market the home’s unique features. Find the home's distinct appeal and display it in the description, video and pictures. 

  • Make the home as appealing as possible. Make sure the home is spotless and staged to show off its best attributes. You can also use virtual staging. 

Besides getting your virtual marketing plan prepped, also prepare yourself with the right mindset. Be aware of the news and potential challenges, but remain hopeful, optimistic and calm for the sake of your clients and leads. Let sellers know you’re going to work hard to get them the most money possible for their homes in the current market.

3. Send leads your marketing package, and follow up. 

We don’t believe you should simply tell sellers you’re awesome. Instead, give the materials that will prove it. Your pre-listing package should "woo" them and include great testimonials from satisfied clients and previous listings that show the attention paid to photos and other marketing. 

A few days after sending your pre-listing materials, follow up with the seller, ask if they received them and ask how you can help. If they’re interested in selling, ask to meet with them. You can schedule a virtual meeting if that's more comfortable to show them everything you'll do to get the home sold.

4. Coordinate a virtual listing presentation appointment. 

A great listing presentation should show sellers how you’ll market their homes, attract more buyer interest and get them the most money possible. If you’re not able to meet the seller in person, do the presentation over the computer using Zoom or another screen-sharing software. 

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