How to Sell Houses During the Covid-19 Crisis

Rita Akekelwa | May 11, 2020 | Uncategorized

In the United States, the coronavirus pandemic has affected every industry. That includes real estate.

It’s tough to get real estate leads and real estate deals done as it is. There are a number of factors that can kill a deal before it starts. In a pandemic, deals are even harder to get done. If you’re curious about how Covid-19 has affected real estate markets, which markets have been hit the hardest and how to generate leads during the crisis, check out our how to generate real estate leads during Covid-19 article.

Illustration of selling a house

But the real estate market remains healthy. That means agents can sell homes. Below, we get into the nuts and bolts.

Fear remains high in the real estate market

People are afraid. Some are afraid for their livelihoods. Some are afraid that the world may never return to what it was before.

Learn how to get seller leads with our home valuation landing pages

But real estate agents shouldn’t let fear stop them from selling houses. One reason is because fear has started to subside.

Before getting into that, let’s go over some of the obstacles agents run into.

  • Sellers are hesitant to host open houses
  • Agents find it difficult to show and tour homes
  • Buyers are taking their home search online
  • Lenders are more reluctant to write loans
  • Some iBuyers have temporarily ceased operations

These things make a real estate agent’s life tough. But things are looking up.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Make no mistake. Things aren’t great.

The pandemic hit the entire U.S. stock market. On March 16, the CBOE Volatility Index, a summary of fear in the market, rose to a high of $82.69.

Fear is subsiding, though. As we learn more about the novel coronavirus, we begin to see patterns that tell us whom it hurts most. Some vaccines are already in phase 2 trials.

The difference between 2020 and 2009? The 2009 crisis was a real estate market crisis. The 2020 covid-19 crisis is a crisis unto itself.

Housing market remains healthy

Here’s the biggest difference between 2009 and 2020. Back in 2009, investors fled the real estate market to find safe havens.

This time, for investors the real estate market may be the safe haven. Real estate agents like you can use this as an opportunity to help people sell their homes.

You can generate seller leads from those who may have had to use their savings to get them through the crisis. Those people can rebuild their cash savings by selling their homes and downgrading.

Real estate agents can help provide relief from a horrible situation.

Real estate agents must generate leads online

In American society, social distancing has  become the norm. How can you sell homes even though you can’t run open houses and invite the public?

You must generate real estate seller leads online. Here are pointers on how to do that.

Find homes for sale through your normal channels

The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) remains online. As does, Zillow, and Redfin.

Real estate agents like you can use the same sites you’ve always used. Generate real estate home sale leads by searching for homes.

Make sure to check for any FSBO homes in your area of expertise. The pandemic may have forced some homeowners into “for sale by owner” situations.  

If you do find some FSBO homes make sure to check out our FSBO scripts and advice from successful real estate agents. 

Approach potential sellers with timely, relevant information

Once you find potential leads, make an initial phone call, send an email, or send a hard copy letter.

Before making your initial contact, reread our article, Real Estate Agent Unique Value Proposition, and 30-second Pitch Examples.

It may help to also read our door knocking scripts article. Think of the door knocking scripts as existing in a virtual world.

Use the script you like as a guide. Make sure to adjust your UVP to address the crisis. You could add something like this after your pitch. Add onto it if you send a letter.

“Your situation is unique. You need an experienced and capable professional, like me, who can protect your real estate transaction. Let me help you through this difficult time.”

During your initial conversation, you want to provide real and important information. “On Zillow, homes in the 91011 zip code are valued at over $1 million.”

If the homes in your area are valued at high prices, you want to get that into the discussion. It proves the housing market’s health.

Facebook Advertising can take a front seat

More and more people are turning to Facebook to keep up with world news. No longer can people congregate outside.

Because of that, Facebook Advertising can aid in real estate lead generation. The more people using Facebook, the more effective your advertising.  

Not only that, but the crisis has driven down Facebook Advertising costs. That makes this an excellent time for real estate agents to set up Facebook ads to generate leads.

How to sell houses during the Covid-19 Crisis

It’s possible to sell during the pandemic. In fact, it’s a good time. We alluded to the idea that many homeowners may need to sell to replace lost savings.

Also, home prices remain high. Finally, more and more states have accepted eNotarizations and eClosings.

Before we get into some specific things for you to do, make sure to re-read How to Convert Real Estate Leads into home sales. It gives you the basics.

The basics won’t change.  

  1. Improve listings

    To sell houses during this time, real estate agents must improve their listings. You can do that by including virtual tours and by providing quality assurance on your website.

  2. Include virtual tours 

    Video can help generate home seller leads. The real estate industry was on a video path before the Covid-19 crisis.

    The industry remains on that path. Make sure to check out our posts on how to use video for real estate marketing.

    You must also create virtual tours. Virtual tours are not new. Many real estate
    agents already posted virtual tours before open houses.

    Here are a few pointers:

    Create a whole floor plan with 3D scans. 3D rocks and it’s easy to do.

    Run a virtual broker’s open house. Use something like Facetime so it feels like everyone is in the same room.

    Virtually stage your homes. Many agents had gone to virtual staging before the crisis. Stick with the process.

    Read our blog on how to virtual stage a home. It will help you create the perfect virtual home tour.

  3. Quality assure your website

    Make sure your website is up to par. That means having excellent bandwidth and providing multiple ways for potential sellers or buyers to reach you.

    If your website is glitchy, buyers may get turned off. That’s not good.
    Make sure you check how your website performs on mobile devices. 

  4. eClose on the home

    Real estate agents want to eClose on homes as much as possible. There are 3 types of eClosings: hybrid, in-person, and remote online.

    During the hybrid eClosing, some documents are eSigned and eNotarized. Others aren’t.

    The in-person eClosing happens when documents are eNotarized and eSigned but everyone is in the same room when this happens.

    If all documents are signed through videoconferencing, we call that a remote online eClosing. You can create a video conference via services like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or  Slack.  

eClosings – State Information

Not all states allow eClosings. Because of the Covid-19 crisis, though, many states have allowed for eNotarizations and remote e-Closings.

See the National Notary Association website for information on your state.

How to Conduct Open Houses During the Covid-19 Crisis

If you must continue to show homes in person, you must follow rules to keep yourself and your customers safe. 

Here are bullet pointed recommendations for before and after open house showings.

  • Offer only private showings.
  • Insist on 24-hours advance notice for private showings.
  • Disinfect home before every showing.
  • If your state has a Coronavirus Property Advisory and Disclosure Form, insist that anybody who wishes to enter sign it.
  • Cap group sizes at three, one agent and two viewers.
  • If possible, provide a mobile hand washing station outside of the home. If not, provide a table with gel alcohol and hand wipes.
  • Provide facemasks, booties, and disposable gloves on a table outside the home.
  • Provide a closed container outside of the home for disposal of facemasks, booties, and gloves.

During open house showings, follow these recommendations.

  • Maintain social distancing of at least 6-feet.
  • Advice participants to not touch any surfaces even though they have on gloves.
  • Tell participants to wash hands at the mobile hand-washing station or tell them to use the hand-wipes.

Follow the above to ensure the safety of all participants, including yourself.

Real estate agents can generate leads and sell homes during the Covid-19 Crisis

Covid-19 has affected people in different ways. Some homeowners may need to sell their current residences to rebuild savings. Others may need to sell to gain income.

Real estate agents can help those homeowners. Agents can generate real estate sales leads through traditional methods like phone calls.

They can also generate leads via Facebook Advertising. Right now, Facebook ads don’t cost as much.

eClosings allows sellers, buyers, and real estate agents to never have to come into contact. For open houses, agents can create safe home viewing environments.

All this allows real estate agents to generate seller leads and sell homes during the Covid-19 Crisis.

Have any more suggestions on how to sell houses during the Covid-19 crisis? Share them with us! 

Right now is a great time to sign-up with Home Value Leads. Get your 14-day free trial today! 

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Rita Akekelwa

Rita is a professional real estate and finance writer who has built up a multi-disciplinary portfolio over the years. She has over ten years of writing experience, focusing on the U.S and Australian markets. Her topics have ranged from credit scores to home loans, mortgage redraws, and refinancing. She has a natural ability to dig deep into her subjects, crafting the highest quality informative texts.