Everyone in the real estate world is wondering how to keep their business moving forward through the coronavirus pandemic. While no one has all the answers, we decided to ask a few industry leaders for their quick, off-the-cuff take on how teams and agents should respond. Here's what they said.
"The name of the game is consistent follow up...You are gonna see this rebound as quickly as it fell off a cliff, so whenever this rebounds we'll be in front of everybody and ready to take advantage of it."
Eric Bramlett, Owner & CEO, Bramlett Residential Real Estate
Location: Austin, Texas
Team Structure: 13 agents, 5 support staff
Eric Bramlett runs a high-end boutique brokerage out of Austin, Texas. Last year, they did 302 transactions accounting for $131 million.
A month ago, they were on track to hit $180 million for 2020.
Now, no one knows for sure. “It upended everything,” says Eric. But he’s not adjusting his goals just yet. “As long as nothing else crazy happens, we’re looking at an incredibly short, incredibly deep recession that we’re going to rebound from incredibly quickly and incredibly strongly.”
For now, Eric and his team are advising sellers to temporarily withdraw their listings. "The name of the game is consistent follow up… You are gonna see this rebound as quickly as it fell off a cliff, so whenever this rebounds we'll be in front of everybody and ready to take advantage of it."
Eric’s sit-and-wait approach is based on his predictions about how his market will react to the crisis. “It’s short-term pain for long-term gain versus desperation, in my opinion.”
Goal: Provide direction to reduce anxiety for clients.
Goal: Provide direction to reduce anxiety for agents.
“Deal with the reality of the situation and face it head-on... Work what’s in front of you. Put together your task list, follow your task list. Create as much normalcy as you can because it will make you feel better and help position you better when things go back to normal.”
"I think this will be a catalyst and accelerator of a lot of things that, sort of, take us out of the old traditional way of doing business."
Wyatt Graves, Team Owner, Kaizen Home Sales & Services
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Team Structure: Mega team including administrators, agents and a new construction department
Wyatt is the team leader of a Keller Williams brokerage and a mega team within that brokerage called Kaizen. His team covers a five parish region working everything from new construction deals and first-time homebuyers to luxury listings.
For now, he’s taking it day-by-day to “get the pulse of the agents”. He’s focused on securing the deals already in play and ensuring that the two major teams he’s onboarding have everything they need for a smooth transition into the team.
"It's kind of business as usual in terms of numbers. We still have listings being taken, we're still writing contracts, we're still going to closings. Showings are down, we're pivoting toward offering virtual showings."
Wyatt leads daily huddles with the team and is constantly asking agents: "What do you need?"
The way he sees it, this is a time when agents will look at their broker and ask whether they're getting what they need out of that relationship. To keep his own team engaged, Wyatt is updating training content to give agents the help they need right now, including open discussions about work/life balance and a talk from an expert marriage counselor. The goal is to make sure his team has the extra resources they need to weather the storm.
Goal: Secure pending deals, shift to virtual showings.
Goal: Discover what they need, adjust coaching to give them that.
“Ask questions, then show up.”
"The show has not stopped. [Agents] need to show now more than ever that they're getting creative for their sellers."
Justin Levitch, President, RLAH Real Estate
Location: Washington, DC area
Team Structure: 250 agent brokerage over 5 offices
"The entire playbook for us has changed in an instant," says Justin.
He’s noticed that even the heaviest prospectors on the team are slowing down. Still, he’s just signed on three new agents and is regularly checking in with his recruitment leads to nurture those relationships by offering information and support.
"Don't reach out to the new people. This is now the time to engage your people [that you already have a relationship with.]" It’s a strategy he’s also using on the business’s front end.
Some of Justin’s agents are still posting listings but instead of moving swiftly on to the next one like they normally would, they’re taking time to improve their listing marketing plans to include virtual marketing tools. Others are asking for help with their website and other 'catch up' type work. Overall, agents are requesting fewer prospecting-oriented marketing materials and focusing more on improving the process for existing clients and leads.
But everyone’s keeping in touch. “They want to talk to us. They’re so happy we made that call,” says Justin.
Goal: Strengthen your connection with existing leads, update your sales tools and process
Goal: Continue to recruit and onboard new agents
“We want to make sure that we stay positive when we talk to the agents. There's a chance that your spring just got moved to fall or winter. It doesn't mean that the year is shot."
“For your agents, be present and be confident. They need your support.”
Beth Nordaune, Team Leader/Associate, RE/MAX Results & Owner, The Enclave Team
Location: Rochester and Twin Cities, MN
Team Structure: 24 person team
Real Estate is deemed essential in Minnesota, so agents can show if they want, but people on Beth's team have different thoughts. “Everyone needs to decide for themselves what their comfort level is.”
Some agents are willing to work, some want to work with sphere only, and some want to stay in completely.
For the time being, Beth is leaving it up to agents to decide how comfortable they are with showings right now. She advises her agents to have their mind made up so they have a prepared answer and don’t feel pressured to say yes to a prospect that wants to meet in person.
For most of Beth's agents, virtual showings are definitely happening. Beth and her team are still posting listings and their marketing and prospecting is still on track, but the message has changed.
To help agents pivot their sales messaging, Beth and the team have brainstorming calls to talk discuss how different people are perceiving and reacting to the situation.
She also leads daily 15-minute video conferences for the entire team to keep spirits high.
Goal: Keep marketing, but keep it tasteful.
Goal: Focus on connection and community to keep agents moving forward
“For your agents, be present and be confident. They need your support.”
“We want to be the hometown heroes through this thing.”
Brad Allen, Broker, The ART of Real Estate
Location: Columbia & Greenville, South Carolina
Team Structure: Boutique brokerage with
"We're still seeing contracts coming in, we're still seeing listings coming in. We're seeing houses fly off the shelf."
Brad watched 45 houses go on the market last week in their local downtown district, half were under contract in 5 days. Brad personally listed his house a few days ago and already has two offers.
Like Beth, he leaves it up to agents to decide what they're comfortable with given their own health and family situations. As the team leader, he’s focused on keeping things moving. "I'm focused on getting business on the flip side of this."
Brand focuses on being a community resource. He has an in-house videographer who interviews people in the community about how they're responding, what their takeout options are, etc. Any tips that people might find helpful in an uncertain time.
"We want to become the hometown heroes through this, that are actually helping the community," says Brad.
He is actively engaging with his team on social media to let them know they’re all in this together. Above all, Brad believes investing time and money into the right things now will make a big impact on the way he and his team bounce back.
"Everybody's gonna say 'Look at your costs, see what you can cut…' Yeah, sure, be conscious of that. But I think sometimes people cut way too much and it's gonna be a hindrance to them in the future."
Goal: Become a community resource.
Goal: Keep agents engaged.
"Your job is to keep the momentum going."