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Dealing With Client Fear

1 min 46 sec read.

We’re already seeing sellers hesitate to list their house because of fear it might bring the Coronavirus into their home. Here are a few things that every client needs to hear from you.

Social distancing?

Sounds bad for agents.

Let’s acknowledge the hard facts. I’m already tired of all the generic COVID-19 emails and broadcasts, so let’s deal with what we really know.

First, everyone is spooked.

At Meijers, you’ll see many people feeling panicked over this thing. No bread. No toilet paper. At the gym there are a dozen TV’s tuned to favorite channels. There, you can watch both Fox News and CNN anchors screaming with their hair on fire that we shouldn’t panic.

You see, the real problem is that we’re getting so very little useful information or detail.

Let’s be clear about who is at risk.

The best information I’ve found on the subject comes, oddly enough, from the financial sector. One writer said, “This virus primarily attacks the lungs. This infection causes some damage to the oxygen/CO2 transport mechanism, centered in most cases around the lungs. A healthy person, not an athlete but an ordinary healthy person, can typically sustain a range of 1 MET (sleeping or sitting quietly) to roughly 10 METS. Each MET is about 3.5 VO2 points, more or less. Thus, if you know your VO2Max you know, more or less, what your METS capacity is. Moderate exercise (e.g. walking at ~3 mph) requires somewhere around 3-4 METS. Vigorous exercise like running is typically defined as 8-9 METS.”

“So, people who cannot climb stairs without becoming winded may find themselves in trouble with this virus and it doesn't matter whether that's due to asthma, COPD or just generally poor physical condition. Presume that you get hit hard enough that this bug at it’s worst takes 5 METS out of your peak oxygen capacity. If you can only barely reach 6 METS you're facing serious risk.” Karl Denninger, The Market Ticker, 03/11/2020, edited.

That’s scary. But it’s good information to have and certainly better than “Just don’t sneeze on other people.” It’s clear, concise and measurable. Home-sellers who are elderly, have very young children or have compromised health SHOULD be concerned about having people tour their home. For them, it might be wise to wait on listing their home until this event blows over. But for the rest of us, it probably won’t be a major issue. While we’re all at risk of getting the virus, few are in poor enough health to merit all the hair-on-fire fear mongering we’re being exposed to.

But how can you explain why a seller should list right now?

If the current scream-fest is any indicator, there may well be a large market correction coming soon – a real whopper. People will lose jobs and businesses will go bankrupt if a shutdown continues for a while. A seller’s market can change into a buyer’s market quickly. But, right now interest rates are low so buying is still really easy. Home prices may plummet, and interest rates may climb. We might experience a do-over of the 2008 housing crisis. Wouldn’t it be better to realize a large gain now while it’s still easy to sell? Wait and you might lose a big percentage of what you think your home is worth.

Most people aren’t thinking clearly right now. They may fail to see the bigger picture. It’s our responsibility to explain these details to them so they can benefit from good advice.

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