By Jef Conn
I’m in week six of working from home in an effort to flatten the curve and limit interactions with our agents. It’s been a tough choice, but a necessary one that many real estate professionals across the country understand.
During the past few weeks, I’ve worked hard to continue my business. Through this, I’ve learned five important things along the way.
1. Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean business stops. In fact, I’ve negotiated deals, had meaningful real estate conversations with clients on the phone, participated in countless hours of Zoom meetings, and marketed my listings while continuing to work on behalf of my clients from home.
2. Your routines don’t have to disappear. During a drive home from the office early on in the pandemic, I committed to myself that for the foreseeable future I would maintain my schedule as if I were still in the office. This means waking up at 4:30 a.m., working out at home, suiting up, and starting my day in my home office by 7:45 a.m. I may be in a different location physically, but logistically, my business, and the time I spend on my business, is the same. Now, if you’re like me, your routine may suddenly include homeschooling your kids. Do that; it’s important. But find a way to create a schedule for your business during this work from home period.
3. Your food and media choices will affect your business. Weird, but what you consume physically as well as mentally has a direct impact on your performance as a spouse, parent, and real estate professional. Make sure you’re not eating all the quarantine snacks and taking naps all day. Eat the right foods to fuel you through the day and closely monitor what goes in your head via TV and news articles. Stay educated but stay positive and motivated. I choose foods high in protein and non-processed as much as possible. That helps me stay focused and in the best shape so I can continue to work hard during these times. If you find yourself watching too much TV or reading all the articles about COVID-19, then take a break from that. My stress level went down a lot when I stopped listing to news stations discuss the coronavirus on repeat. Instead, pick up the phone and call your database to find out how COVID-19 is affecting your clients and how they’re dealing with the new stay at home routine. You might find your clients need an ear to listen to how their house is too small or how they need a new house with an office in it. BINGO!
4. Real estate isn’t shut down in most states. Every market may be a little different, but as I talk with my real estate friends across the country, I’m learning that most clients aren’t sitting on the sidelines. Offers are still being submitted and buyers are still closing. This is occurring while taking extra precautions, such as wearing gloves and masks, social distancing, and remote or drive-thru closings. Real estate deals are still happening and I hope that’s the same for you.
5. We must be flexible and adapt. When the shelter in place order was given in my area, real estate was still considered essential. Many prospective buyers were uncertain about the risks and a little nervous at touring properties. Instead of waiting until the pandemic is over to show listings, I grabbed my phone and filmed virtual walkthroughs of all my properties to give people an inside look so they can help narrow down the options that offer solutions to their real estate problems. It may take a little longer to get to the contract period if people can’t travel to look at homes in person, but we can move the ball by providing virtual video walkthroughs of our properties. If you haven’t done that, then get out there and do it. Your sellers will thank you, as will future buyers.
One more thing to note: Negative talk will make clients run in the opposite direction. Even if you have to fake it until you make it, try to be an uplifting positive person. Eventually, you’ll find that it comes naturally. Your clients will gravitate towards that and will look to you for your expertise. You’ll also be more enjoyable on Zoom meetings or FaceTime calls. So take a deep slow breath, and smile. It’s a lot more fun than being negative all the time.
We will get through this. Business will gain footing in a new normal and we’ll be able to hug our friends and neighbors again. Until then, don’t sit on the couch and watch Netflix all day while eating junk food. Get up, keep your schedule, and get to work. The choices you make in your real estate business today will affect your income in the next 30, 60, 90 days, and beyond.
Jef Conn, CCIM, SIOR, is a commercial agent specializing in industrial, office, and investment properties with Coldwell Banker Commercial in Lubbock, Texas. Jef served as the 2017 president of his local association and currently serves as Region 1 vice president and executive board member for Texas REALTORS®. Connect with Jef on LinkedIn or via email: JConn@CBCWorldwide.com.
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