Selling During COVID-19 - The Key is Over-Communicating
Channeling my short sale days, pivoting with one simple plan was the key to successful Closings for me last month. Over-communication became my mantra the minute we got wind that we may be entering a period of quarantine.
I remember the days of short sales well - as though they were just yesterday! No, this is certainly not the same market as during The Great Recession but, one commonality remains critical - good communication is key to getting to the Closing table.
I remember letting the agents on the other side know, WEEKLY, how the process was going after phoning the bank and my sellers. One secret that I learned - and found most challenging - was communicating the status to the other agents’ clients - THE BUYERS. While I could relay all information to the other agent, it wasn’t always getting to the buyers. The excitement, anticipation and even the hope that someone was working towards the final purchase of their new home was lost without any updates.
Having been on the other side of a transaction with the buyers as my clients and not receiving reports from the seller side, I knew the only way to keep those deals together was to over-communicate! As a result, my retention rate was unusually high - I got my short sale clients to the Closing table.
Now, fast-forward to 2020 - some of the challenges we faced with transactions that we had in place when the market went haywire due to COVID-19 were challenging. A few of the issues were as follows:
- Cash buyers panicking - they wanted to hold onto their cash and forego the home purchase ‘for now.’
- Lender/investor changes - more restrictive qualifications or no longer carrying certain products.
- Employment verification delays due to limited corporate HR staff during quarantine.
- Job loss - no longer qualifying for loan products that were previously underway.
- One buyer had their own issues and the seller was ever-so patient allowing her to push out Closing to accommodate her personal issues!
How were these issues managed?
- Cash buyers were given a little more time to complete loan applications to use mortgage loans in lieu of cash purchases.
- Lenders pivoted well to handle the more restrictive qualifications, offering different loans/products for challenging buyers.
- I had my buyers secure the HR contact information (name, email and phone) to ascertain that when the lender reached out, there would be no delay.
- Job loss - we had one that did have a job ‘change’ (with less income due to COVID-19 lay-offs) and their spouse was added to the loan to make up the difference.
- We also had one that the credit restrictions were painfully limiting and a family member allowed one of the borrowers to be added to a credit card as a co-signer. That took a little additional time but, the buyers ultimately Closed - albeit late!
We were reviewing our clients sales & purchases this week, since the quarantine began and realized that 9 of 9 pre-quarantine sales have Closed - one late due to lending, another late due to buyer issues…but, they ALL were successful!
This was a lesson to us all about how communication MATTERS - communication can be the difference between success & failure.
© Debe Maxwell | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | CharlotteBroker@icloud.com | Selling During COVID-19 - The Key is Over-Communicating