Before we leave 2020 completely behind, this week, our readers share the toughest obstacles they had to overcome last year. From adapting to new tech to keeping agents engaged, here are all the challenges you listed.

Pulse is a recurring column where we ask for readers’ takes on varying topics in a weekly survey and report back with our findings.

We’ve officially stepped into a new (and more optimistic) year — a fresh start. With that, it’s easy to want to turn our backs to the tumultuous year we left behind and leave it in the past. But as much as it’s important to charge forward, it’s also equally necessary to remember what the real estate industry had to triumph over this past year.

So, before we rang in 2021 last week, we reached out to our readers to ask about the biggest obstacles you had to overcome in 2020. From dealing with low inventory to helping other agents get acclimated to the new digital environment, here are all the challenges you took on.

  • I had to work extra hard to make conversations happen this year because I wasn’t just running into people at events and airports. My biggest challenge was making time to stop, call, talk, write a note and listen. I am thankful for the lesson — it was important for me to realize that these habits need to continue long after isolation is up.
  • The same as always — deciding what to eat for dinner … Seriously though, the challenge that stayed in my head most of the year and remains in my head now is how we protect our people (agents, staff, buyers and sellers) across the country. By “protect,” I mean the full gamut: physically, mentally and financially. You cannot fully protect all three at the same time, so we continue to evaluate and respond to the risks and trade-offs.
  • Helping “regular agents” feel comfortable with digital interaction.
  • Low inventory.
  • I had to adapt to three people moving in with me, one of them being an autistic child. Because of his sensory issues, I had to do Zoom calls in my backyard and in my car sitting in the driveway. I also had to adapt to the fact that my buyer agent quit with no notice, and my transaction coordinator told me that I was doing too much business for her to be able to work with me. She eventually moved back to Arizona. I had to take a rookie who hadn’t done a deal, and I moved him from showing assistant to buyer agent. I also had to work around my health issues because I have three herniated disc from a fall in 2018. Additionally, I found myself helping agents who weren’t adapting well to the technology and to Zoom. I think the hardest part was doing rehabs and doing digital designs versus in-person design meetings. Thank God for Pinterest.
  • Company culture was so much harder to maintain and develop. We were able to stay in touch with our agents, but online events just don’t match in-person events for getting the agents to interact with each other. Also, mentoring new agents was almost impossible because they couldn’t tag along on client appointments for most of the year.
  • More than ever, I’ve had to learn to “go with the flow.” So many plans had to be cancelled or rearranged. Had to give up my vacation to the Dominican Republic in March, and I lost a job in September. Everything I tried to control went out the window. This year, more than most, I’ve had to lean into faith that everything is happening for me. The best that came from 2020 is a deeper connection to myself, my children and my true friends.
  • Honestly, [it was] probably tech! Having two kids at home with constant Zoom [sessions], my hubby and I working from home, me doing webinars and live streams. We ended up investing in lots of new equipment this year — new computers, phones, routers, modems etc. Business write-offs!
  • Understanding that delivering content virtually is a craft. The way we speak to a group is significantly different than “just a webinar.” Eye contact (even if it’s with your camera), tonality, energy, engagement and the explanation of content involves many moving parts. The ability to create, deliver, follow chat and questions as well as muting mics, watching for raised hands and letting people into session 20 minutes late, all while smiling and executing your plan on screen, is a true craft.
  • Keeping agents engaged, motivated, focused and open to doing things differently.
  • Separating with several team members.
  • Not getting to refuel my soul tank at live events and hug my people.
  • Separating facts from fiction, focusing on solutions and momentum versus fear, excuses and paralysis, maintaining our culture and connections in new, responsible and acceptable ways.
  • Hands down, running a team, being a mom of three boys who couldn’t get out of the house, learning to work from home with my spouse without killing one another and becoming a VPK, first and third grade teacher overnight. Zero balance — it was organized chaos. This all did teach me to slow down, learn new things, be intentional with every conversation and to never take hugs for granted. Also, God bless our teachers. I love you.
  • Sharing the house, TV remotes and bandwidth with my husband (who typically travels 95 percent of the time) was a huge challenge initially. For the important zoom meetings and industry conferences (Inman Connect, Jared James and Tom Ferry), I went to the old office for more privacy and faster internet! I’m very impressed with how most Realtors quickly adapted to all of the new challenges.

What did we miss? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Editor’s note: These responses were given anonymously and, therefore, are not attributed to anyone specifically. Responses were also edited for grammar and clarity. Inman doesn’t endorse any specific method and regulations may vary from state to state.

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