COVID-19 has turned the industry upside down. The ATA spent a few minutes with a couple of GCAR members to learn more about how they have adapted their businesses during the pandemic. Throughout this time, we will continue to share member stories on coping with the challenges in home life and at the office (in their basements)…
In this issue Christine Serafini, Real Estate Agent with Miranda Real Estate and Tori Romeo, Broker, Romeo Team Realty were generous enough to spend a few minutes with us reflecting on the past 8 weeks.
My standards of practice have changed to be guided by the CDC, NYSAR, and my Brokerage. I created a COVID-19 video that I give to each client that is also on my website. I put the safety of my client and self before a commission. I had to change my mindset in March. We have a dedication, an opportunity, to serve the public in a humane way. It’s not all about the sales, emotion has to factor in.
I was scared to death of both the virus and how the new normal would affect business; I have at-risk family members and I had multiple deals in my pipeline. But I took time to assess my core beliefs and desires and concluded that our business is essential to meet the needs of our clients and I can do that safely and effectively under the new guidelines. People still have a driving need to sell or buy, that isn’t going away; does it look different? Yes. There are job losses, support businesses closed down, and emotionally wrought clients who want to walk away from transactions. But I had a business structure with tools in place prior to this crisis and paired with my passion to help my clients, I’ve continued to move forward.
I have built closer, more emotional relationships with my clients. My focus has been and still is, to serve the public. I am proud that I could overcome the fear that could easily have immobilized me. I have adopted a business model that keeps me and my clients safe but, still moving forward to meet their needs.
Virtual technology has been a fabulous tool! I’ve become more technologically savvy using Zoom, it’s taken away the technology phobia! I’m now doing a virtual event with over 40 people that I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do prior to the pandemic. In addition, virtual technology has leveraged my time with virtual listings and great educational conversations with clients.
Romeo Team Realty
I haven’t changed a ton of my business model, more of my business practices. I don’t go into the public office anymore and work fully from home except when absolutely necessary. I shoot photos of my own listings and have my photographer edit them instead of her going in person until her stay-at-home is lifted. I offer virtual tours for everyone (this used to be a high-end feature) and I use a professional cleaning company to disinfect vacant homes before I shoot them. I do a lot more legwork upfront to vet buyers so that we ensure that everyone is serious and not just wasting time. I’ve had to learn how to do 360 tours, shoot video, edit video, make things a bit more professional while still being the marketer. Normally I would hire a lot of this work out, but I’ve had to pivot to learn how to do it myself.
I have a lot more time to focus on creating training and step-by-step guides for my agents and company. A lot of things I used to put off I have time for now because I’m doing less work out of the house. I am focusing on connecting more with my agents and clients since I cannot see them face-to-face to establish that rapport. It has enabled me to get to know people a lot better and offer better service all around.
I love that I now know how to edit videos and do 360 tours. This saves me money in the long-run and gives me more control. I will use a lot more video conferencing and digital in the future. These are things I knew before but hadn’t mastered. I can now offer a wide variety of products to my buyers and sellers. For my agents, I will continue the trend of keeping in touch virtually weekly. It’s been a great time saver.