The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the real estate industry can be broken into multiple phases. There was the initial shutdown, where real estate was determined to be essential in some markets but not in others. Then, as those markets found their footing, professionals discovered what they needed to do in order to keep servicing their clients. The unexpected need for change and adaptation has, in the best way, propelled our industry forward when it comes to leveraging new technologies and implementing innovative approaches to our day-to-day business.
So what will that next phase look like? What elements of the current market will remain in place as agents continue to drive efficiency and elevate the home buyer and home seller experience?
We spoke with two CENTURY 21® affiliated agents in very different markets to better understand how COVID-19 has shifted their mindset, what they wish they knew before it all got started and what they anticipate for the future of the real estate industry.
Gabriel Mendez is with CENTURY 21 Award in San Diego, California. Nicholas Sloney works with CENTURY 21 Curran & Oberski, in Royal Oak, Michigan. They sat down with Inman to share their experiences and what tomorrow looks like.
What is the biggest difference between your business pre-COVID and now?
G. Mendez: Before COVID-19, everything was face-to-face and that was the norm. Now the new norm is virtual, and everyone’s okay with it! People who never liked to be on camera (clients, especially) are now okay with video call and video tours.
N. Sloney: Michigan has been at the forefront of social distancing and precautionary measures. This has actually cut down on distractions. As a result, I’ve narrowed my sights on clearly communicating value where I can.
Which new processes and/or skills that you’ve had to implement during the pandemic do you believe will remain in effect in the post-COVID real estate world?
G. Mendez: One word: Zoom! This is the biggest tool that we’ve leveraged since COVID-19 for our listing and buyer presentations, webinars, client consults, etc. The other biggest learning curve has been taking all of our listing intake and buyer consult forms digital.
Moving forward, a big portion of the business will continue using video calls, digital forms, and more streamlined processes. We’ll have some clients who want to do things the traditional way, but as Millennials, Gen-Y, and even Gen-Z, buyers and sellers move into the market as the new dominating demographic, tech will drive the way we do business.
N. Sloney: Confidence and professionalism are more important than ever. I’m doubling down on my commitment to my principles and building from there. In this constantly changing market, with all of its ups and downs, my clients need to know I’m not going to be another distraction. I am here to get the job done and here is how we are going to do it.
What do you think buyers and sellers need more of from agents now and as we come out of this climate?
G. Mendez: As the world gets more virtual, there is a continued need for us to be more human. We’ve already become accustomed to a contactless world of food and package delivery. But the heart of our business is that human contact. That means as agents, you need to double down on your communication and people skills.
N. Sloney: I would say buyers and sellers need even more empathy and understanding. They need perspective on where the market is today, where it’s going, and what needs to be done to achieve their goals.
Is there an upside to these changes you’re making?
G. Mendez: My business processes are streamlining. I can take more buyer consultations and listing presentations in a single day than ever before. I have the freedom of making any place my office. We’re doing more social media advertising which saves us time out in the field door knocking, hosting open houses, etc.
N. Sloney: I have seen a huge uptick in productivity and efficiency. With my clients having more time at home, my clients can directly see and appreciate my commitment to their solutions and their excellence.
How has Century 21 Real Estate set you up for success in the face of massive change?
G. Mendez: From the beginning, Century 21 has supported tech innovation, encouraged the use of social media, and helped me find ways to streamline processes. The brand has always encouraged out-of-the-box thinking. This is why I feel like I’ve been prepared for the times we live in now. Companies talk about being forward-thinkers, but Century 21 has been the only one brave enough to push through the noise for years. We’ve been relentless in our efforts to set an example for the industry and for our clients.
N. Sloney: At Century 21, every level of leadership shares the same principles of excellence and serving others first. We adapted our processes of communication and doubled down on where we felt value needed to be provided to our communities. With just under four years in this business, I have seen leadership raise both the floor and ceiling for all involved, at every level. Knowing how my management and leadership operate allows me to have faith in where we are heading at all times. In moments of uncertainty, I never had a doubt we were the ones to answer the call.
If you could go back in time to early 2020, what would you advise yourself to do?
G. Mendez: Do more videos and more webinars. Do more advertising on Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook. Be omnipresent online!
N. Sloney: I would hire two support coordinators and work harder to stay ahead of as many problems as possible. Providing exceptional service is my cornerstone and I’m excited to find new ways to make that happen.
About Century 21 Real Estate LLC
The approximately 139,000 independent sales professionals in approximately 11,600 offices spanning 83 countries and territories in the CENTURY 21 System live their mission every day: to defy mediocrity and deliver extraordinary experiences. By consistently chasing excellence, giving 121% and always elevating, the CENTURY 21 brand is helping its affiliated brokers/agents to be the first choice for real estate consumers and industry professionals worldwide. Century 21 Real Estate has numerous websites to help answer specific consumer needs. They are century21.com, century21.com/global, century21.com/commercial, century21.com/finehomes, and century21.com/espanol.
©2020 Century 21 Real Estate LLC. All Rights Reserved. CENTURY 21®, the CENTURY 21 Logo and C21® are registered service marks owned by Century 21 Real Estate LLC. Century 21 Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated.