Real estate leaders need to take action like they are the mayors of their respective community right now, according to Renee Funk, co-Founder of The Funk Collection Real Estate Team with eXp Realty in Orlando.
During an Inman virtual town hall session titled “My 3 Month Plan,” Funk, along with other real estate leaders, revealed what they’re doing to keep agents busy at a time when transactions are slowed nationwide and communities are dealing with shelter-in-place orders.
“Our number one focus has been well-being phone calls to every human being we know,” Funk told Joe Rand, managing partner of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty.
Rand, meanwhile, has engaged the actual mayor of a small town on the Hudson River outside New York City to create websites for local businesses that didn’t have them, or didn’t set their sites up as e-commerce platforms.
Amie Quirarte, a real estate agent with Tahoe Luxury Properties in Lake Tahoe, created a local Facebook page on the day of the quarantine. At first, she created the page to connect people who wanted to help others, with those who needed help. She expected it would be things like delivering groceries or creating care packages for senior citizens.
“It quickly evolved into something much greater,” Quirarte said. “It turned into a way to connect with my clients, past, future and current clients, how they can stay in touch with Tahoe.”
Tahoe has a major secondary home market and through the Facebook page, she was able to raise $125,000 from secondary homeowners. That money paid the rent for 35 local families for April and May.
Then the Facebook page pivoted again and is now paying local restaurants to serve food to individuals in need. Six nights a week, restaurants are delivering 650 meals, which is helping keep many of the restaurants in business and many workers employed.
Quirarte also connected with her clients right as the shelter-in-place order in California went into effect, offering help with anything they need. Many were stuck in the Bay Area, she explained, so she offered to go check on their homes for them.
“I’ve really just offered to be their boots on the ground resource, which has given them comfort to come to me for things that they need,” Quirarte said.
Nicole Lopez, the founder and leader of True Houston, a Houston-based real estate brokerage, also had her team help local restaurants set up websites so they could inform the community if they were open for takeout, delivery or dine-in as restrictions lifted in Houston.
True Houston also set up a Facebook page for the vendors of the Texas rodeo to help them close down. The page, which was set up on March 13, already boasts 175,000 members and the vendors have done almost $1.5 million in sales thanks to the page.
“We really do thrive in that environment and it’s so important to be on top of what your community needs,” Lopez said.