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Since the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the usual operations in the real estate industry have experienced changes, and many professionals have learned to cope with the ongoing quarantine through various means. Along with the coming of the new normal, many questions arise regarding how the real estate sector will remain afloat.
In the second episode of Lamudi’s Broker Central, Marla Nañadiego, regional director of Keller Williams (KW) Philippines, answered questions and shared her insights on how real estate professionals can cope and adjust with the changes brought on by the potential general community quarantine (GCQ).
What Are You Doing to Prepare for the New Normal after ECQ?
Nañadiego said that even before the start of the ECQ last March, they have already started with online training using Keller Williams’ technology to train their associates. “What we do right now is that we take advantage of this ‘long vacation’ to train them in different aspects,” she said. She also mentioned that they teach lead generation to their associates using localized training modules. Part of their preparation for the new normal is teaching their associates to be tech-savvy in using the company’s systems and technology that associates can maximize during and even after the ECQ.
Other than the modules and training on how to be tech-savvy, KW has also discussed training topics that suit the interests of their associates. One of the essential and helpful topics that helped them were talks by Colliers International, which shared what to expect and how associates can deal with various challenges in the industry. She also mentioned other topics such as Keller Williams’ books titled “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,” which discusses the business model of Keller Williams PH, and “Shift: How Top Real Estate Agents Tackle Tough Times,” which talks about how the real estate industry can face the changes and challenges brought on by the current COVID-19 crisis.
What Is Your Advice for Real Estate Professionals Once the ECQ Ends?
With the lockdown potentially lifted after May 15, real estate businesses will have to adjust to the changes followed by the so-called new normal. Nañadiego said that it is crucial to continue being healthy and happy so that “they will be able to look forward to whatever happens after the ECQ and dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.” She also mentioned that it is imperative for professionals to be updated on the windows of opportunities that will open up in the current pandemic crisis.
Nañadiego also said that communicating with their sellers and clients is important even after the ECQ as seeing them face-to-face may not be ideal given that social distancing will be part of the new normal. “One more thing is to go with the shift because in this situation we are in now, we have to conquer it by being prepared for it, by being knowledgeable on what’s happening, by going out there for your clients.”
And while social media allows real estate professionals to keep in touch with their clients, Nañadiego highlighted the importance of giving clients a call to ask them how they are, how they cope with the situation, and if there is anything they need.
“Don’t start communicating with them about the business; start with something personal so that [clients] will see and feel that you truly care about them.” She advised that real estate professionals can call clients about business after a week or two. “Ask them about how they are, or if there is something they need about their properties or if they have referrals–because everyone still has to continue doing business.”
What Opportunities Do You See in the Real Estate Market after the ECQ?
One of the opportunities that Nañadiego sees in the real estate market after ECQ is that sellers would still want to sell and buyers who have cash on hand would still want to buy properties. “A lot of developers have been giving out promotions, and packages in terms of down payment and payment schemes for their properties. This gives the buyers the upper hand because they can negotiate for the prices.” Nañadiego stated that buyers can buy any property they want as long as the seller agrees with the negotiated price.
For the leasing industry, Nañadiego talked about how social distancing will be a normal practice for companies even after the quarantine period is lifted. “As Colliers said, companies will be looking for condominiums to accommodate their employees because transportation will be limited, so there will be a higher demand for condominiums for rent.”
How Do You Plan to Utilize Digital Means for the New Normal?
The ECQ has proven that almost anything can be accomplished digitally. Part of Keller Williams’ training for their associates is to teach them to harness different types of social media platforms to reach out to clients. “In our current situation, our associates have to learn how to post, when to post, and what interesting materials capture the interests of the clients.”
Nañadiego said that because they prioritize brand awareness, they are more visible on social media, and they share their posts to the agents to encourage them to post daily. “We are also utilizing the two websites of Keller Williams and our system to communicate and work with our international counterparts.”
Are There Any Learnings You’ve Gained from Your Agents and by Yourself Given the Current Situation?
Nañadiego said that they have always pushed their associates to generate leads and to contact possible clients, emphasizing that “they might never know if somebody like their neighbor or relative might know someone interested in buying a property.” In this current situation, it is extremely important for agents and developers to be present in the industry and cater to their clients the best they can, to keep the business afloat and to maintain a healthy relationship with their clients.
What Are Your Tips for Productivity for Brokers?
With most working from home, questions about productivity always arise, especially on how brokers can be more efficient when dealing with business and with their clients. Nañadiego said that productivity in self-learning is crucial, that they encourage their associates and employees to attend the training scheduled for them.
In terms of selling, closing deals and virtual tours are possible through the use of digital signatures and Internet platforms. Nañadiego said that they have been aggressive in their virtual tours since face-to-face transactions aren’t allowed right now. She further mentioned that other than virtual tours, brokers should also send the status of the property to the clients so that they can have an idea of what the property looks like and if they are still interested in it after the virtual tour.
With the ECQ potentially shifting to GCQ on May 15, real estate professionals and seekers should prepare for the new normal. Just ask, and experts will answer. Stay updated on the next episode of Broker Central here.
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