Not everyone survived SARS 2003: What Real Estate Leasing Companies can learn for COVID-19Leave a Comment
Covid19 is threatening all domains of our functional lives the way we have perceived it till now. Businesses are being disrupted, organisations are seeking contingency plans to resist a downfall and out of all industries, the most affected could be real estate leasing. Quite ironically the leasing industry has had a difficult impact by the control measures against the pandemic just as much as the pandemic itself.
Though not on a global scale or the extent in the number of people affected, the reports post SARS 2003 has some useful insights it can provide. Coming from a country with 1.7 billion in population and 9.6 million SqKm in area that holds real estate properties from upscale offices to ultra-cheap accommodation it should be worth checking and if possible learn a few things.
YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE STILL THERE AND THEY ARE CAUTIOUS.
The uncertainty that goes around covid19 is expected to make your customer cautious and adopt conservative strategies in the leasing and rental market. But they are watching the market closely and trying to make use of a chance. Back in 2003 the office rents in Hong Kong fell into historic lows before it surged back, once the virus was contained 
Office and other property demands are expected to rebound once the concerns’ regarding the disease is addressed. It has a lot to do with utilizing desperate times to benefit and how people spot the opportunity.
THE MARKET IS DOMINANTLY TENANT FRIENDLY. BUT THE UNCERTAINTY WILL NEGOTIATE.
Tenants are trying to take advantage of falling rents and lets accept it it’s a renters market. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t scope for negotiation because the uncertainty surrounding the circumstance is driving customers to get hold of a great deal as fast as possible.
“I feel prices will go up again and it’s better not to wait,”- A potential tenant to China daily
A similar trend was observed post SARS in the Hong Kong real estate market that helped prices surge back.
It can be argued and agreed that the same uncertainty is keeping customers out of the market but unlike the SARS 2003 the technological progress is greatly in benefit to the current market to involve more prospects.
DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR WISE MEASURES: AND TECHNOLOGY WORKS BEST.
The Infectious nature of the disease keeps customers worried about getting out and checking properties. Also the concern surrounding personal and community hygiene of a property unit and its premise will pull them away from diving into contracts. The importance to emphasize asset specification and quality rises up as an immediate measure for real estate companies.
Leveraging technology to communicate, engage and deliver, straight away puts organisations ahead of the race in a difficult market. Organizing virtual walkthroughs and utilizing digital platforms, information that provides customers a sense of safety can be effectively put through. The capabilities of a good CRM solution in maintaining engagement, organising the team and getting approvals, all remotely and at one place will help gain traction and acquire more deals.
FEAR REDUCES COMPETITORS: TAKE ADVANTAGE.
“Be Fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful”- Warren Buffett
An economic slide often helps you in cutting down competitors. The unpredictability of the market is just as worrisome to other companies as it is for your customers as well as your organisation. Companies tend to under invest and neglect the potential of technology in bridging the gap. Getting your arsenal ready and optimizing operations is the right strategy to fight times as these.
The SARS 2003 has taught the world many things that can serve as a guide to the current pandemic. The most important of them is the fact that ‘THIS TIME TOO SHALL PASS’ and if you are not ready with a business continuity plan that adapts to the future, survival is up a creek. Know your customer, utilize the power of technology and do the right things when others aren’t doing.