With more time spent at home these days, many people have taken on new roles in their family. Parents have had to become math teachers and older siblings have matured into babysitters earlier than they could have anticipated.
Now, some children of real estate professionals have become honorary employees of their parents’ business, learning the ropes of being a real estate agent while adopting a ‘We’re all in it together‘ mentality.
Amanda Sue Briggs, co-founder and CEO of Phoenix-based brokerage Roosted, said her stepdaughters have been involved in the family business from the get-go (one of Briggs’ co-founders is her husband Dane Briggs). But the pandemic has given them an opportunity to get even more hands-on experience.
“[I have] lots of stories,” Briggs wrote in a message to Inman, “But my favorite is last week when my 9-year-old made a promotional video for our brokerage and it’s PERFECT.” (See the video Briggs’ daughter made below.)
“The kids have been involved in the development and marketing of our brokerage since the beginning,” Briggs added. “The oldest gives home tours as well as a seasoned agent!”
Lindsey Moore, a full-time agent/broker at The Legacy Group at Better Homes and Gardens RE-Medley in Columbia, South Carolina, and her husband David Moore, a part-time agent, took the opportunity early on in the pandemic to teach their fourth-grade son how the business works.
“We started incorporating [him] into various aspects of the business and talking about how important it was for us to keep working whenever we could during this time,” Lindsey Moore wrote to Inman in a message. ” He has taken on the identity of just being part of the team and he loves it!”
So much for fractions and multiplication tables — Moore’s son has already advanced to accounting with the help of his parents.
“He now knows how to keep simple accounting ledgers for marketing expenses and he answers the phone occasionally,” Moore said. “He can also input leads into Lion Desk and he manages taking items in and out of my car to the garage, such as signs and staging supplies.”
Like Briggs’ daughter, Chad Nash, Ph.D., owner and CEO of the Denver-based RE-Doc Group at Compass, also has a daughter who’s warmed up to the camera during the pandemic.
“I do a lot of content marketing, so it started off as playful and funny,” Nash told Inman.
Nash’s 8-year-old daughter has become a ‘co-host’ and ‘assistant’ of sorts to Nash over the course of the pandemic in his marketing videos.
“Now it’s like, OK, now I have my assistant, so she would talk a little about what I would do on a day-to-day [basis],” Nash said of his daughter’s evolving role. Nash said she’s started to point out the best kid-friendly features in a home, like “a big backyard for the slip ‘n slide, or a big theater in the basement.”
Amber Martinez, director of strategic operations at ReferralExchange, an online Realtor referral network, said her 5-year-old son’s curiosity in what she works on all day led her to teach him about the organizational structure of her company.
“He actually started talking to me to try to understand my position, and who am I in the company, and I thought that was really interesting,” Martinez told Inman. “So, he was like, ‘So you’re the boss, but you also have a boss?’ So he would ask me questions to try to make sense of it in his own mind. So I said, ‘You’re part of your teacher’s team’ … [And] then you throw the principal into the mix, and that helped.”
Some agents with older kids, like Sue Benson, a Cape Coral, Florida-based agent with RE/MAX Realty Team, said that although her kids have grown up learning about she and her husband’s careers as real estate professionals, being in such close proximity during the pandemic has given them a greater appreciation for what Benson does.
“It has brought new light to what goes into our job, [which is] more than ‘just showing homes,’” Benson wrote Inman in a message. “They know the videos I do are more than just around town now; that it’s the way we communicate with customers. I think it’s brought a new appreciation to our career and what we do for a living.”
There have been some scattered reports over the past few weeks of parents getting backlash for their children interrupting their workday, including the case of a California mother, an insurance account executive, who was fired for her children being noisy while she was on work calls. The mother of an infant and a 4-year-old is now suing her former employer for gender discrimination and wrongful termination.
Florida State University also announced at the beginning of July that employees who work from home would no longer be allowed to care for their children during their working hours, as of August 7, 2020. However, after significant backlash on social media, the university issued an update stating that the policy only “applies to employees whose job duties require them to be on campus full-time during normal business hours,” and excluded professors.
Agents that Inman spoke with, however, painted a picture of supportive colleagues and brokerages who have been understanding about juggling the responsibilities of a full-time job with kids at home. Some agents said if they thought a client might not react well to their multiple responsibilities, they would direct them to another colleague who could handle the showing or meeting in their place.
“I have two other agents on my team, and so if I feel like a client is going to be ‘like that,’ we usually try to refer them over to one of the agents who would be able to be more dedicated and kid-free,” Moore told Inman. “Tailor the client experience to the client’s personality sort of thing.”
Briggs said she believed the conditions of the pandemic have changed work culture to be more casual and open-minded.
“I honestly think the shutdown of schools and everyone turning to Zoom for work all at the same time has shifted the culture around work,” Briggs said. “I’ve been in Zoom meetings where toddlers are sitting on laps the whole time. That never would have been accepted pre-COVID, but when we’re all in this unique situation together, all just trying to do the best we can, it’s amazing how much it’s changed so quickly.”