We all felt that shift in the markets the past ten days. How has it impacted you?
St. Patrick’s Day Trip Cancelled
We were headed to visit Ireland, Scotland, and Britain when the world started going crazy this month. For years, we’d put off this dream trip for one reason or another, but this year we booked it with the plan to be there over St. Patrick’s Day 2020. As seasoned travelers, we watched the news of the virus, but still felt like we could safely take this trip.
The day before we were to leave for our trip, a Wednesday night, a presidential speech interrupted regular programming, and President Trump announced that he was suspending foreign travel into the US. My friend and travel agent called immediately after, asking if we had heard, and how we’d like to proceed with this trip. We agreed we’d sleep on it and decide the next morning.
We woke up early the next morning early and decided it was the perfect time to pack. The bags were packed and carried to the garage door, and we decided to check the news one more time before leaving. The news now was that other countries were shutting down their schools and businesses due to the virus, including Ireland. And, a friend of a friend who was already in Ireland was trying to get an early flight back to the US, because there was nothing to do. At that point, we knew cancelling the trip was the only wise thing to do in this situation. Fortunately for us, we were issued a future travel credit equal to our full costs that we could use to book another trip sometime before 12/31/2021.
Our Real Estate Business
We had scaled up our real estate investment business in 2020, as well as my Realtor business. Currently we had one house for sale and under contract with a closing date of April 2, 2020, and we have five more houses being remodeled right now which should all hit the marketing during April 2020.
As government leaders asked us to exercise social distancing, we had to find creative innovative ways to keep working. All our meetings are now online. Our workers are being cautious on the job sites. And, we’re using the phone to communicate more and more.
Back to the Basics, Human Relationships
Calling on the phone, mailing cards, and just checking in are so easy right now. Cold calling is not hard at all, and calling our own database, people we know is even easier. “Hi, this is Judy, I’m just calling through my contacts, checking in on my peeps. How are you doing?” Let them talk for a while, ask if they need anything. Offer to find resources for anything they need.
It’s not about referrals right now. Instead, it’s about connecting with one another like humans, knowing that while things may be fine at your house, it may not be as fine at their house. Sometimes fear can be calmed just by hearing another person’s voice on the phone line. Be that lifesaver.
Adapt and Shift
The market indeed is shifting. This pandemic is making business more difficult. We won’t exceed our business goals right now, but keep working your business to get whatever portion is available to you now.
I’ve shown houses to two groups of people this week. The houses are vacant, so it’s easy to wipe everything down as we come and go from the homes. And, it’s easy to social distance since there’s only three or four of us at the showing. I open the door, turn on lights, open doors, then they wonder through the houses on their own. One is an investor who is looking for rental houses to buy. Another is the family of person who is relocating to the area this month. I hope to sell houses to both of them in the coming week.
It would be easy to stay at home in my pajamas, eat snacks and watch Netflix movies, but instead I’m making calls every day. I’m meeting with mortgage lenders via Zoom. And, Facebook is sending me leads to call. They’re happy to hear from me, too.
Yes, the market is shifting. It’s harder to get listings at the moment, and showing houses is a pain, but it’s time to work the market, so you have these people ready to buy and sell houses as soon as this moment ends.
Everyone’s Situation is Different
I know everyone’s situation is different. You may be worried about how to navigate these weeks of unemployment. I don’t have the answers, but I will encourage you to two things. Stay in touch with your client base, and see if there’s a way you can help one another. They’ll love hearing from you, and perhaps they’d love to buy a gift certificate now for a future service from you. You could offer them an incentive to buy now – you know what you need now, and what you can afford.
Just don’t freeze up and do nothing. That’s a recipe for disaster. Make a plan to survive, then put that plan into action. If you need to talk strategy, feel free to call Roger or me. We both have lots of ideas, so when we hear what you’re facing, we can make some suggested actions, and you might then think of the perfect solution. Let’s work together to come through this with our best year ever in 2020.