Sourced from various real estate pros all over the country, this recurring column features stories of what agents are seeing on the front lines and what others can draw from those experiences.
When news of the shelter-in-place orders hit, I found myself feeling a bit paralyzed. Despite real estate being deemed an essential business, it was evident that we would see a significant shift. Not only in our market, but in our day-to-day routines.
To feel helpless in a time of such despair can either put you into a tailspin of nonaction, or it can inspire you to do things you didn’t know you were capable of. At Tahoe Luxury Properties, we chose the latter.
Without knowing exactly what our mission would be, we started the Emergency Relief – Tahoe/Truckee Covid-19 Facebook page. I learned very early on that if you wait for something to be perfect, chances are it won’t ever come to fruition. So, we jumped right in.
Our efforts initially started off on a relatively small scale. The original idea was to connect those in need with people who wanted to help. We knew we could count on our community to band together for the greater good. What we didn’t know was just how powerful our community could become.
The first week, we worked with a local social worker to connect with families in severe need. Many people became unemployed amid COVID-19, and given that many Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, we braced ourselves for the storm.
We started having community members shop, deliver and pay for other people’s groceries. We created goodie bags for the senior center, grocery store workers and first responders. We found a local therapist willing to offer her services for free to those in need.
We listened. We learned. We acted.
We realized that in order to continue helping, we would need to raise funds. We used this as an opportunity to connect with our existing clients and sphere of influence. We shared our story.
They listened. They learned. They acted.
In less than a month, we raised over $90,000. A good portion of that money came from our real estate and vacation rental clients.
Lake Tahoe is a second home community, and most of our clients have their primary residence elsewhere. These donors — our clients — care so much about a community that isn’t even their primary home that they were willing to not only donate money, but also their time.
A client of mine who purchased a $4.75 million home two years ago went to the grocery store, picked up a gift card and flowers, and dropped them off to a single mother in need. As time went on, the need grew. We were able to secure enough funds to pay rent for 30 local families for the month of April.
But we didn’t stop there.
Prior to COVID-19, the local Boys and Girls Club had never provided dinner service. But once people were out of work, they started serving food three nights a week. We decided to sponsor one of the nights, but quickly realized we could — and needed to — do more.
We contacted local restaurant owners with a proposition: You cook the food, we’ll pay you, and we’ll provide free dinner for those in need. We saw this as a way to inject money back into our community while also providing an essential community service.
With inspiring collaboration, we successfully achieved our goal of bringing free food to our community six nights of the week. And we’re not talking about small numbers here. We’re talking about 650 meals a night.
Not only has this effort given me a sense of purpose while real estate is on hold, it has helped me stay in touch with my clients and sphere of influence. It has encouraged my clients to become more connected in our community which further deepened the love they have for their home here. It has helped me reach people I never would have been able to reach prior to this.
At the end of the day, real estate relies heavily on one thing. That one thing is connection. The more people you connect with, the more success you will achieve.
Giving back and spreading good in your community should not be done based on the idea of referrals, self-promotion or your own personal gain. Giving back should be about making your community a better place.
The inevitable result will be your name being pushed out into the community. And if you put yourself out there enough, chances are, your name will become synonymous with compassion. If this translates to new real estate business like it has for me, you are in a win-win situation.
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