Navigating Coronavirus / Covid-19 Pandemic as a Client and Real Estate Agent/Agency

Covid-19 & Real Estate

The recent Covid-19 pandemic has affected the livelihoods of many, and it continues to spread if no measures are taken to control the situation. Across the globe. Yesterday, 16 March at 10pm (Kuala Lumpur time), Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced a 14-day Restricted Movement Order (18-31 March 2020), where the following is enforced:

  • Blanket ban on public gatherings.
  • Shut down of all businesses and places of worship, except for supermarkets, wet markets, grocery and convenience stores.
  • Overseas travel ban for all Malaysians (returning citizens must undergo 14-day self-quarantine).
  • Shut down of all schools.
  • Shut down of all colleges and universities.
  • All private and public services will be suspended except for essential services

This is in order to contain the virus and help prevent the situation from getting bad to worse.

You can read PM Muhyiddin’s transcript here, and what falls under the essential services here.

Now that you understand what’s going on, here’s what Clients (buyers/sellers) and Real Estate Agents / Negotiators can do to make the best out of the Coronavirus, Covid-19 quarantine on movement restriction.

Overview map shot by drone in Tropicana. During the Covid 19 Coronavirus affecting Klang Valley.

Keep calm. Understand what’s going on and how this affects everyone. Most Importantly, communicate with your Agents/Clients.

The truth is, many industries are affected by the pandemic, not just real estate.
We identified and broke down the effects of where the Coronavirus impact would affect the public;

  1. People influx = Affects Travel, Tourism, and Education.
  2. Supply chains =  Industry & Factory lines in outbreak hotspots and with specialized production.
  3. Goods trade = Pause Global imports of discretionary consumer goods, potentially capital goods.
  4. Commodity/stock prices = Travel impacts oil, weaker investment affects iron ore and coal.
  5. Financial Institutions = Depends on Risk-asset volatility. Stocks and Equity prices have dropped, and credit spreads are wider, banks are reducing interest rates.

This global phenomenon allows real estate investment to be an attractive option for investors as a safe haven for their assets as property prices are steady and controlled by the people’s holding power.
Bank Negara has already revised OPR rates by 0.25% yet again in March 2020 while signs are showing that they may further reduce it again. (Read about our recent OPR coverage here)

For Owners & Buyers

This direct impact has enabled two Options;

  • A Surge of buyer’s demand. As other investment options become weaker, existing and new Investors need another vehicle to ride out until the market recovers which can take anywhere between 2-5 years. Within that period of time, your property would have greatly appreciated between 10-40% in its value.
  • Owners who may have got burnt by the stock market drop or if the Coronavirus has affected their jobs, they may need to reconsolidate funds. This means to cash in on the disposing of their property assets and allowing opportunistic buyers to snap it up.

Agents

If you have any clients involved with any of the above areas, perhaps its time to let them know that you are going to be around to help them out with any of their property concerns.

It would serve as a good reminder to tell them regarding what you do. Because of the economic impact, they may need to sell, stay put, or move assets around, thus, making you the ideal person to work with and secure their current/future assets. This should be a good start to identify their needs during this situation.

It’s time to pick up the phone and call. Don’t just text. Apart from just sending forwarded updates on the Coronavirus status/announcements, you should be able to add value and be sensitive to their Real Estate needs.

If a viewing must go on, do it via a Video Call instead of meeting up.

Agents should keep a 5 ft distance
Many businesses have shifted operations to WFH (Work From Home) or take a compulsory leave during this lockdown (movement restriction) period. It’s a good start for all, but Agents have already got in a game of working from anywhere. However, this will affect all home showings for both Client and Agents.

We understand that both clients and Agents are excited to grab a good deal before it slips away, but do be very cautious about it, and if they still would like to see homes during the weekend, propose to do a video call instead and make the digital appointment. Better yet is to postpone the showing until the quarantine lockdown period is lifted. We all need to be cautious during these worrying times to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

Despite the warning, we’ve heard that some individuals; both clients and agents are still going ahead with appointments. It’s actually NOT ADVISED as you may be fined by the local authorities for not following the order. In the near future once the showing bans are lifted, it is still advisable to be safe and follow these steps below:

  • Do not show the property to multiple people at once;
  • Be present at the home 15 minutes earlier, and open all windows/doors to air the house (remove the stale air and odour to prevent sneezing).
  • Keep a safe distance between you and your client (at least 1 meter away). Make sure to not get too close;
  • Advise people in the home to not touch anything or come into contact with the objects in the home;
  • Ask those coming into the home to immediately wash their hands with soap or provide them with a hand sanitzer when they arrive. 

    Additional: Bring a Clorox wipe for your clients, if they’d like to open/close cupboards, doorknobs, or handles, encourage them to use the wipe first before engaging.

We hope by following the steps above, you would keep everyone safe. Knowing that what we do could put an end to the pandemic, it will be better for everyone when the market begins to recover.

For more information on how the virus spreads and how to take precautions, watch WHO’s infographic video here:

For Agencies: If you’re managing a brokerage, it’s not too late to get into the game to move everything to the cloud. Better late than never.

Disruption is upon many industries, though it remains uniquely impossible to completely replace Agents with tech, it’s still a good start to move processes and management of people, lead generation, marketing, CRM and sales tools to an online platform to manage the load of having a physical Real Estate Office.

Since things are changing, the Coronavirus is actually speeding the timeline up for Proptech to be widely adopted by Real Estate Agencies.

Managing a Real Estate Agency is never easy, especially if your Agents rely on coming into the office to use resources to report, get training, manage their leads, meetings and deal flow, it’s important to know what are the components that could be digitalised for the convenience of your team without the confusing steps or interface.

In many matured cities, leveraging on technology from an Agency level is a very powerful tool to retain Agents and keep them moving forward. The timing couldn’t be more impeccable especially with the restricted movements that encourage Agents to work individually by their own but yet remain connected and work doesn’t stop.

What are some of the smart tools are you seeing in your local Agencies today?

 


If you’re in the market looking to buy or rent Real Estate in the hot areas of TTDI, Bangsar, Petaling Jaya, Tropicana, Damansara Uptown, Bandar Utama, Ara Damansara and Saujana; you can start your search or list your home with Bumbung.co, a listing platform for the finest properties in the Klang Valley.

 




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