Weathering the storm: 5 tips for real estate agents handling natural disasters
By Billy Nash
A few years ago, when Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey, I was there. Now I’m in South Florida, where Hurricane Irma just hit. As a team leader, I have seen first-hand the psychological impact that natural disasters can have.
For real estate agents, the days leading up to and after an event like this are pivotal. This is an opportunity to be more than just an agent — to show your value, put clients at ease and keep your multi-million dollar deals alive. Here are five tips to help agents get through natural disasters.
If you are in the middle of a deal when disaster strikes your area, you have to be sensitive to what your buyers or sellers are feeling.
It’s not just about closing the deal but also being supportive and creative to keep everything in check.
Whether a blizzard, earthquake, hurricane or wildfire, it will take some time and effort to get things back on track, but all is not lost. This is a test to see who is built to handle these unpredictable high-pressure situations.
Client communication is key
Sometimes this means doing a little bit more than showing a client a property and disappearing after they sign on the dotted line.
Building lifelong relationships is what differentiates me from my peers. Reach out before and after the storm.
Clients and prospects need reassurance that their investment is safe both before and after. This can seal the deal for future referrals and transactions.
Also, after the storm, it is critical to re-engage with buyers and sellers and reiterate why we have chosen to live in the communities we love.
Manage the fears and reactions of your clients
They are going to panic, but it is in your best interest to help keep them calm.
For example, since Hurricane Andrew, homes in Florida are built to handle strong hurricanes. It is essential to educate out-of-state buyers on this. They can see how well homes held up through Irma’s strong winds.
Combined with master generators, impact glass and hurricane shutters, homes are virtually unscathed. A new building under construction that I have sold over $6 million worth of units in can handle Category 5 winds.
Add value to the experience
Roll up your sleeves, and get involved. Take the time to ask clients if they need help putting up or taking down shutters.
The weekend before Irma made landfall in Florida, I had a client who had just purchased a spectacular $1 million unit on the water on Singer Island.
He had parked his brand-new luxury car in an underground garage on the property before returning to Boston just three weeks ago.
After speaking with him, we arranged to have the keys mailed down, and I was able to move the car off the island to avoid damage the day before the storm.
After the storm, I checked on multiple properties, surveying any damage and sending photos to clients to ensure that their homes were safe. Maintaining communication is the key.
Lend some support
Consider going one step further and allocating a percentage of your commission to give back to impacted areas. Not just in your area, but also anywhere and everywhere areas are affected.
Natural disasters are always going to exist, but it is all about how you bounce back and get your clients through them. If you hide under your desk, your buyers and sellers will dwindle, and this will slow down business.
Learn and grow from each one. Pound the pavement. Keep in touch or you will fade away, just like the storm.