In the wake of the recent storm that left many in Acadiana and South Louisiana devastated, Real Estate professionals are anxious to learn ways to prepare for future disasters. As Realtors are already serving their clients during times of big change and transition ,damaged property can add insult to injury in an already fragile season of life. As their agent, it’s an opportunity to put your professionalism to work to serve them well.
Start with a plan.
It was Ben Franklin who said “By failing to plan, you are planning to fail.” His words expose the vulnerability of not taking time to consider the implications of a coming disaster for your clients.
Additionally, communicating the plans to your customers will ease their minds in the midst of nerve-racking anticipation. Inform your customers of possible worst case scenarios and the steps to take if they were to occur.
Most people are scared of the unknown and find comfort and reassurance in a plan.
Create simple “if/then” scenarios that show your clients that even in the worst of circumstances, there are solutions.
For example, during speculation of a hurricane approaching it will be important to discuss various options in case the home receives damages while listed or even under contract.
One thing you can do to make sure your client is prepared for a coming disaster is to review their insurance policy and keep their agents contact information handy.
Jamie Wiebe from Realtor.com recommends having your clients take an inventory of their possessions. “While most homeowners hold insurance policies, many neglect to complete their home inventories—a recommended but rarely required step that eases the postdisaster recovery.”
Plan to work with others.
It was amazing to see the impact that people working together in our community had on the families affected by the storm. The response was overwhelming and is a foundational lesson for future disaster preparation.
When disaster strikes and your clients property is effected, it’s not only unsettling but can have contractual implications as well. Having a team that has experience on their side can bring a lot of aid when facing extreme situations.
Create a hard copy list of direct contacts (as computers and electronic communication may not be useful) that you can count on to help get your client’s needs, questions, and concerns taken care of.
Share trusted sources.
It doesn’t take long in times of crisis for misinformation to rise to the surface, and in today’s era of social media it can easily be shared with little effort in investigating it’s legitimacy.
As a real estate professional, you have an opportunity to brand yourself as a thoughtful leader. You can cut through the noise and give people clear sound advice and information.
Recently, local Realtors provided their clients with phone numbers of local government and aid agencies that could serve them during the disaster. A professional commentary on rumors and myths can come as welcomed news for those who were dealing with tragedy first hand.
Lastly, and most importantly, be available to serve those in need. Most great agents have the desire to serve their customers well. Considering how you can help your clients prepare for disaster and how you can better respond when it comes will ensure you can always be of service, even in the worst of times.