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Katie Day created her real estate team, MOVEMETOTX with Coldwell Banker, in September of 2018, and the tight-knit group has been making an impact on the Houston real estate scene since then with things like Instagram community tours and personal client connections.
Inman recently caught up with Day to discuss her team’s experience navigating the pandemic and the ups and downs of the Houston market. Despite daily uncertainties of what seems like an ever-changing national landscape, Day said her team has displayed its nimbleness and adaptability.
Read on for more of what Day had to share.
How many team members do you have?
As far as agents, we have four. It’s me and then three other agents, and then we have two transaction coordinators, a marketing coordinator and a videographer.
Wow, that’s great — I haven’t heard of many smaller teams hiring one of those full-time.
It was something we really wanted to focus on this year. We basically offered them more of a full-time commitment to ensure we focused on that.
What’s the biggest challenge your team has faced during the pandemic?
I think that there’s just a lot of uncertainty in the market and what’s happening, and all that has probably been the most difficult. And figuring out how to navigate everything. I think now things are more certain than they were back in March and April, but just continuing to navigate everything with so many different changes is still challenging.
What qualities do you look for in potential team members?
We’re always looking to grow and add more members to the team. We always hire slow to ensure that we’re finding people that fit our culture. Because I think that too often if you hire someone that’s not the right fit or doesn’t want to provide the same level of service that you do, it rubs everyone else the wrong way.
We all work very hard and we want to find people that are hungry and want to continue to grow in the industry and want to learn, and fit our culture and fit in with the group and get along with everyone. Pre-COVID, whenever we would be ready to hire someone, after interviews they would come into a team meeting to meet everyone, and it was always interesting to see how people react out of an interview setting and in a more casual setting.
What are some of your team’s greatest strengths?
I think that everyone is very adaptable. I think that one thing that was beneficial for us with everything [going on with COVID-19] was that everyone was very quick to pivot to being able to do as much as they could virtually. We had already used a lot of tech, so we were already doing a lot of things via video or virtually, so I think that they all have done a really good job of figuring out what they need to do to move things along in the process. Pandemic or not, something that they’re all really good at is staying nimble and making sure we continue to adapt.
What have you done to stay connected as a team during the pandemic?
We probably communicate more than a lot of teams do, so I think we tried to maintain that throughout the pandemic. One of the things we do is have a daily huddle where we powwow together and talk about what’s going on today, and the challenges we’re facing.
In addition to that, we’ve had Zoom get-togethers and we have weekly Zoom meetings as well, to try to keep some sense of normalcy and keep our schedule[s] as well.
What’s your market been like the past few months?
We had a stay-at-home order put in place at the end of March, so showings came to a significant halt. There was a lot of stuff that was already pending at that point, so a lot of those transactions continued to close in April and May, but it was significantly less than you’d normally see that time of year. Real estate was deemed essential, so we were able to continue to work.
April and May were pretty slow, down about 20 percent year-over-year, but June and July have shaped up to be pretty busy.
Now as we continue into summer, and almost another month [in to the pandemic], we’re seeing demand and sales be the same, if not more, than they were in 2019. So we’ve been really fortunate that there’s still a lot of people in Houston who are looking to move.
We don’t have as much inventory on the market so that’s something we’ve really been tracking, which isn’t great long term. It definitely varies by price point here, but as a whole, we normally have about 10,000 more listings this time of year than we have [now] so it’ll definitely be interesting to track over next few months.