By York Baur, CEO MoxiWorks
As we close out the second quarter of 2020, there remains a lot of uncertainty in the still very prevalent COVID-19 world. Looking back on the last few months though, the real estate industry has pivoted more rapidly than most expected.
We’ve been analyzing the market data closely, waiting to see if there’s another shoe to drop. But, through this whole experience, even when we were at the peak of new COVID-19 cases, we continued to see agents staying in touch with their spheres and people buying and selling homes across the country. This gave us confidence that no matter what happens, homes will continue to transact.
And, while we’re not out of the woods yet, with several cities and states beginning to see another rise in cases, I’m still bullish about the recovery of our industry as we enter the second half of 2020.
The current landscape
We believe in being transparent and honest with our fellow Moxians and have been reviewing market data with the company every week during our company-wide town hall meetings. We want to make sure our entire company has insight into how the real estate market is doing, and what we can be doing to help. While we still believe that no one can truly predict the outcome of this pandemic, there is a lot of data trending into the recovery, some of which is even surpassing data from the same time last year.
Pending Home Sales
In NAR’s most recent report (June 29, 2020) pending home sales spiked 44.3% in May compared to April. This is the highest month-over-month gain since NAR started their Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI) series in January 2001.
Our own data shows this same trend. We have over 95% of the US home sale footprint in our systems, allowing us to do additional analysis. For instance, inventory continues to be highly constrained – just take a look at what’s happened over the last year in the chart below – the normal Spring listing season was skipped this year due to the pandemic, and national inventory has been compressed substantially.
Given this low inventory combined with surprisingly good closings, the result is steady prices with even some upward pressure in certain markets. This is particularly true in tech-driven housing markets like San Francisco (grey line in the chart below) and Seattle (blue line), where pricing has been pushed up substantially due to lack of inventory.
Listings & Solds
We’re seeing a continued trend up and to the right for new listings and solds in a given week, which is a great sign of the beginning of recovery. Overall, the year-over-year gap has narrowed, which is a hopeful sign of recovery. It’s also worth noting that following the massive dip at the start of the pandemic, the shape of both curves is following last years – another sign of some return to normalcy in the market.
National vs. Regional Data
One quick note on the data we’ve been reviewing. Because we are a national SaaS company, we tend to focus in on the national housing data, but I know it’s not always enough to just look at the national data, often it’s more pressing to pay close attention to the regional data on listings, pricing and solds. Mike DelPrete has created The Real Estate Market Tracker so you can do a deeper analysis of your regional data. I’m a big fan of Mike’s work – he’s worth following for his insights and analysis.
Leading Indicator: Agent Activity Remains Strong
Everything I’ve shown you in the paragraphs above are lagging indicators, in other words, stuff that’s already happened. It’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at lagging indicators like these and trying to predict the future, but that’s a mistake. Instead, we need to find leading indicators – activities that precede and lead to the outcomes shown above.
For us at MoxiWorks, the leading indicator we look at most closely is agent activity in our products. Our technology has always been about sphere-centricity, helping agents be good with the people they already know and to help them stay in flow with their sphere of influence. In spite of the industry’s obsession with leads, the reality is that the agents that command the vast majority of the transactions have their sphere of influence to thank as their primary source of business. Therefore, when agents use our CRM, presentation tool, and other products to interact with their sphere of influence, it’s a very accurate predictor of future business.
One of the best of these leading indicators for us comes from MoxiPresent, MoxiWorks’ presentation product. While it’s a general-purpose tool for presenting to consumers in many different ways, a primary use is for presenting seller presentations, or CMAs. Our historical analysis of this data shows that it’s a great predictor of new listing inventory 60 days from when the listing presentation is delivered to the homeowner.
At the end of June, the volume of MoxiPresent listing presentations created is almost the same as last year. So, while total inventory will take a while to even out, we’ve historically been able to predict the highs and lows of future transactions based on the number of MoxiPresent presentations being created. As you can see in the pink line in the chart below, seller presentations have recovered to last year’s levels after a severe dip at the beginning of the pandemic. This implies that there will be a rebound in new listing inventory in the coming 60 days – a great sign that there’s some relief for the tight inventory situation coming soon.
Additionally, when we look at product usage across all of our products year over year almost everything is increasing week over week and year over year even as we embark on month four of this global pandemic and uncertainty. All positive signs.
Where we go from here
When this all started at the beginning of March, we shared the three principles we planned to live by which were to: be optimistic, be supportive, be productive.
We’ve seen so much creativity, ingenuity, and positivity from the real estate industry and we are looking forward to seeing how the industry continues to hold steady, push forward and help our economy recovery in the months to come.
By Mercedes Santiago, MoxiWorks Marketing Coordinator
We’ve read countless articles on tips to work from home, and plenty of webinars on the adapting state of our world: How to set up your home office, how the industry is changing, and what’s to come… Each are just as important as the next, but with the immense amount of content being pushed out to you virtually, it’s easy to miss the valuable words from industry leaders.
We’ve compiled some of the valuable quotes and conversations all in one spot for you. It’s time to focus on the future and recovery, and these industry leaders quoted below bring just that.
MoxiWorks’ CEO, York Baur, brought together four industry leaders in our space to talk about that state of the industry, what they’re doing and what they’ll continue to do moving forward. You can listen to the full conversation right here. In the video, CEO of Ebby Halliday, Chris Kelly, gives his two cents on what he’s learned through this pandemic.
“Definitive communication has been key for us and will continue to be moving forward. Covid-19 has allowed people to dive back into deep connections with one another. When we get to the back side of this health crisis, all of our spears are going to be sharpened as to how we understand the importance of relationships. Just focus on being a helper right now.”
– Chris Kelly, CEO, Ebby Halliday
We can all agree in our personal lives along with business, communication has increased in unorthodox ways. The unexpected result of virtual communication has improved relationships, productivity, and business cultures. Kelly stated how he rarely was able to take part in sales meetings with the role of CEO, but virtually, he now attends 3 a morning and is able to drop in virtually with ease. Going forward, communication isn’t going to return to what is was, and frankly we don’t want it to.
We had the opportunity to talk with Dan Forsman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties recently. He said,
“The law of inertia: an object at rest stays at rest, until it meets a CEO who is passionate about their agents going to the next level.”
– Dan Forsman, BHHS Georgia Properties
We love the passion behind Forsman’s take on Newtown’s First Law. He believes strongly in not only running a successful brokerage, but in helping his agents continue to push forward and move up in their careers. Forsman takes training and coaching very seriously to ensure that his agents. Managers, and even himself do not stay at rest and are constantly evolving and growing. You can listen to their full conversation here (tag the video).
Our podcast REAL with MoxiWorks had Hoby Hanna, President of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services as a guest this past week, which you can give a listen to right here. York and Hanna discussed how we can turn fear into action, covid-19 related and non covid-19 related.
“I’m a believer that leaders need to emerge and say, ‘let’s take advantage of what we’ve learned.’ We may be doing virtual showings for the rest of our lives… people might prefer narrowing down their search virtually to 2 or 3 houses before they step outside and view them. Things have changed, and people need to get out of their shell and adjust to the new normal.”
– Howard W. “Hoby” Hanna, IV, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services
We applaud Hanna in understanding the realistic view of how things simply won’t go back to how they were. Like always, the future doesn’t look exactly like the past, and this situation is no different. Instead of mourning in our past business-norm, let’s get excited and motivated about the opportunities that are now arising.
On an earlier podcast, we interviewed Jeff Detwiler on the topic “Leading Through the Cycle of a Crisis”. Both Baur and Detwiler have experienced multiple downturns thanks to being a long-time member of the industry, and have advice that remains prevalent for past downturns, current, and one’s going forward. Detwiler says,
“You must stay connected and keep your agents focused to avoid fatigue. You do that by trying to diminish the fear that all of us have during a crisis. The medical, the financial, the personal… We need to eliminate uncertainty and build their confidence up in doing so. It’s all about attitude and staying connected.”
– Jeff Detwiler, Long and Foster
It’s important as leaders to instill calm and security in your agents, and Detwiler is doing just that. Not only does this help during a crisis, but during recovery… Instead of feeling like rock bottom, agents have a strong base to build back up and continue on.
This situation is new for everyone, whether your brand new in the industry or a veteran. We’ve been affected at a personal level, business level, and emotional level. While this situation is unlike any before, it doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the past and get motivated by other leaders who have valuable words to share.
You can find more thought leadership under the links above, or simply head to our covid-19 recovery page at moxiworks.com.
1. Turn Conference-Room Sales Meetings into Interactive Webinars
- Schedule and host a live webinar during the normal meeting time for consistency.
- Change presenters/speakers and share your screen just like an in-person presentations
- Use online tools or webinar software features to have participants ‘raise their hand’ to ask a question, answer a poll, take a vote and more. This way you can replicate the interactive portions of your meeting.
2. Buyer Networking
“During our meetings, we take a moment for agents to share info about a buyer they’re working with in hopes that another agent may have something soon-to-be-listed.”
- Create a special chat room using Yammer or Facebook Groups to share your information.
- Think of it like posting a personal ad in the classifieds – “buyer seeking lake-front 4bed4bath, but willing to compromise. Call me 555-5555.”
3. Pocket-Listings and Listings Coming Soon
“Our company dedicates a short portion of our sales meetings for agents to share information about their listings that haven’t gone live on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) yet.”
- With firm guidelines in place to protect your agents and their clients around local and national regulations, your agents could also use a forum or chat style webpage to share the info (remember, no identifying addresses or features, just beds/baths/zip code/estimated readiness.)
4. Manager-Agent Performance Reviews
- Managers and agents can use 1-to-1 video conferencing!
- A key part of a confidential conversation is being able to read and interpret each other’s body language. These non-verbal cues prevent misinterpretation and confusion.
- At the end of the call, if you have paperwork to sign, consider using an e-signature service to sign and receive a document.
- Does your brokerage have a mentorship program in place? Keep them communicating and collaborating virtually.
- Organize video calls with members of the group to have regular, consistent check-ins.
- Encourage mentors to include their mentees on calls to clients, partners, or prospects.
- Have mentors and mentees hold each other accountable throughout the week to achieve weekly goals.
- Now is an awesome opportunity to promote learning.
- Build out a video library of pre-recorded webinars, how-to videos, and other resources on your ‘HUB’ (an intranet or resource website for your agents to access from anywhere).
- Consider getting a group of agents together to complete online NAR (National Association of Realtors) certifications together.
7. IT Assistance
“We employ a Help Desk to assist agents with their devices, sometimes troubleshooting needs to be done in person. How do we manage?”
- Video chat saves the day again!
- Participants can share their screens and your IT guru can guide them through the problem.
8. Partner Events
“What about brokerage partner services like mortgage lenders, title, and insurance — how can they engage with my agents if they can’t hold events in the office?”
- Try out a “Bring-Your-Own-Lunch & Learn.”
- Schedule a video conference around lunch and invite your agents to listen while they eat at home.
9. Water Cooler Talk and Camaraderie
“My company’s culture depends a lot on the ability for agents to socialize in the space. We have coffee and snacks, comfy lounge areas, places for people to have good conversations.”
- You may not be able to replicate the snacks and coffee, but you can encourage agents to take part in a group discussion using social media.
- Facebook groups are a great platform for internal conversation threads that can be easily shared with other members of your company.
- Set the group to private and invite your agents and staff to join! (This also cuts down on too many company-wide e-mails).
10. Charity and Community Action
“This is normally a time where my brokerage gives back to the community with a day of service. What can I do now?”
- A trending event that different local communities are organizing are car parades. Individuals decorate their cars or make signs and then drive together in a ‘parade’ and wave to others outside their homes. Teachers parade past student’s houses, friends parade and cheer past clinics and hospitals.
- Get clients involved too! Organize a drive-by tour of homes or neighborhoods.
- Partner with a local organization that needs monetary donations and invite your agents to donate online.
Good Investments Prepare You for Disruption
Hoby Hanna, President of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, brings his passion and insights to the REAL with MoxiWorks podcast discussing how we can turn fear into action. This episode highlights the value of investing in your technology stack to be prepared for any sort of disruption (not just COVID-19), and why it’s important to streamline processes in a legacy industry and at a legacy company.
April 17, 2020
Every industry is being driven into tech-adoption en masse at rapid speed to balance social-distancing and quarantine with continued business. Real estate is no exception — as an agents’ essentialness remains debated in every state. However, while you may hear some companies claim their ‘virtual-ness’ and absence of a brick-and-mortar location as a competitive advantage during the COVID-19 pandemic, the reality is that every single real estate brokerage has the ability to pivot and continue business virtually. Every brokerage is a virtual brokerage.
I had the pleasure of wrapping up the LeadingRE Annual Conference in Las Vegas last month with a presentation on why every real estate brokerage is a tech-enabled brokerage — a statement that some companies are trying to use as differentiation to compete for talent. But you, as a human, are tech-enabled and therefore so is your business. If you’re a tech-enabled brokerage, you’re also a virtual brokerage. Perhaps you won’t want to operate as a virtual brokerage forever, but you are capable of pivoting temporarily to best serve your agents and their clients.
LIVE: “Don’t fear the technology, make it work for you.” – York Baur, CEO of MoxiWorks pic.twitter.com/HCAUrGYmPn
— MoxiWorks (@MoxiWorks) March 12, 2020
Going Virtual Brings Us Together
In critical situations, it’s impossible for a leader to over-communicate with their team. Honesty, transparency, authenticity — no one has all the answers, but openly talking through our shared experience is cathartic and productive for everyone.
Encourage your staff and agents to communicate using video. All smartphones these days offer front facing cameras and most laptops have a built-in camera, too. We can absorb both verbal and non-verbal cues in conversation and have more productive and fulfilling chats. We can hold each other accountable to the conversation when we’re visible, rather than a phone call where we can get distracted just listening.
It’s Time to Gear Up – Virtually
So, here’s what you do. Brokers, managers, office admins — take a second to think about all the traditional tasks you do during the day that ‘require’ face-to-face interactions or on-site access. Now, brainstorm a new, virtual way to achieve that goal. Is it a group video chat? Perhaps it’s e-signatures on forms instead of wet ink.
The MoxiWorks suite of products and services has always been here to help future-proof the way you work and our cloud, along with over 50 integrated partners, will help our clients thrive during this unique time. We’re right there with you — Seattle being one of the first and hardest hit hot-spots of the crisis, our staff have all been rising to the challenge of working from home and continuing to provide stellar service. We even continue to have our regular releases of feature updates right on schedule. I personally was excited about 2020 being the year MoxiWorks moved into a new office downtown, but 2020 is now the year that MoxiWorks transcended physical location to keep doing what we do: getting shit done.
Competition, fresh players, technology — every disruptor you’ve faced before has trained you for this whether you knew it or not. The pandemic is another kind of disruptor. Your response will drive your future success. Business has always been about inertia: an object in motion stays in motion. Now is the time to stay in motion.
Let’s do this together,
Earning an income from the comfort of your couch sounds like a dream, doesn’t it? I personally have friends who have applied for remote-only positions, hoping to get the opportunity to do that very thing. Ask any of my real estate friends why they chose a career in real estate, and almost all of them will likely tell you they wanted to obtain a flexible schedule and they wanted the ability to work from home. What they quickly find out, though, is that the job requires them to be out and about more often than they originally anticipated due to meet and greets, buyer tours, listing appointments, staging days, open houses, and a plethora of other things that require them to be customer facing all the time.
So… what happens when working from home is no longer a luxurious option, but a requirement mandated by our government? What happens when real estate agents and brokers aren’t deemed as essential, so they are told to stop working immediately to slow the risk of COVID-19? Here are seven tips and tricks to real estate from home, for real.
Tip #1: Use Video Communication
With stay-at-home orders in place across our nation, it is now more important than ever that you and your team familiarize yourselves with video communication sources such as Facetime, Facebook video, or GoogleDuo. Being able to continue to meet your clients “face to face” will help them feel more comfortable with the idea of having you as an agent because not only will they be able to put a face to the name, but video communication gives a more personal feel than a basic email. For those of you who are using MoxiPresent, did you know that you can embed video elements into your created presentations? Try adding rich media to your bio or neighborhood news and see what kind of response you get!
Tip #2: Virtual tours & video walkthroughs
The housing market has been affected by COVID-19 as a result of a variety of factors, but more so because buyers are scared of meeting their agents at a home for a tour due to the risk of potential spread of COVID-19. How do you show them a home without actually being there to open the door for them? Easy! Matterport, Zillow, and other 3rd party sources now offer you a way to create a 3D tour for your buyers. You can also use your cell phone to record a walkthrough of the property to give the customer a realistic sense of how the home feels. Both of these avenues allow your buyer to see the home, while still being able to social distance. You can then easily embed videos or create your own buyer tour within MoxiPresent.
Tip #3: Stick to individual home showings
The Center of Disease Control (CDC) recommends that people don’t have gatherings of six people or more to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Instead of hosting a large open house for potential buyers, try video communication (tip #1) or virtual tours (tip #2) to help. Some states consider real estate to be an essential business, while others don’t, which means you may or may not be able to conduct in-person showings. If your buyer is determined to see the property in person, don’t feel obligated to risk your health to show them a house this week. Try to reschedule as best as possible. That being said, if you decide to, you can schedule a time to do an individual showing. Just remember to keep your distance and take the necessary precautions to keep you, and your clients safe.
Tip #4: Your CRM is your friend
Regardless of whether or not you are working from home or in an office, one of the biggest mistakes that an agent/broker can make is forgetting about their CRM. For those of you who don’t know what that is, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Manager, which is a fancy term for a software system that allows you to manage client relationships and track data. We’ve seen first-hand how MoxiEngage helps real estate professionals stay organized even in the midst of all this chaos. Since it’s designed specifically for real estate, it allows agents to follow their sales flow and communication cadences set for each client in order to stay engaged with their sphere and maintain productivity, even in times of uncertainty. It’s all about keeping your book of business organized and to help fill your pipeline.
Tip #5: Visual and Online Marketing
As we know, leaving the house isn’t really an option these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sellers are wondering if putting their house on the market is even a good idea if nobody will be able to see it. As an agent, it is your job to guide them in the right direction and help them understand there are other ways people can see the home. Marketing that home in ways that can highlight the property visually, is key. For example, MoxiWorks provides you with marketing materials that you can use the moment your listing hits the market. These materials are focused on providing real time property data and are highly visual, creating an engaging experience for recipients. If your buyer is more traditional, feel free to print out the PDF and send them a flyer. If your clientele is younger and more tech savvy, leverage email templates and pre-populated posts for different social media platforms to ensure maximized exposure.
Tip #6: Utilize your Seller
Most of us are stuck in our houses with kids, pets, and chaos, so finding a time where your seller is not home is very unlikely right now. Instead of hiring a staging company or scheduling a time where the owners can take a walk with their dog so you can show the property, use your seller and their “free time” to your advantage. Ask them to capture videos of certain rooms for you. I’m sure they would be happy to help if it allows them to sell quicker!
Tip #7: Provide a personal touch
Have you ever walked through a store in the mall, just to browse and get a feel of what was there, or to waste time while you’re waiting for your watch to be engraved? Most of the time we get that sales associate who comes up, asking if we are searching for something specific and won’t leave us alone, even though we tell them we’re “just looking.” As consumers, we don’t like to be sold, especially in times of uncertainty. Reach out to your prospects and clients with a simple goal: To ensure they are safe and healthy, and to let them know you’re thinking of them and wishing them the best. Too many people want to force a sale, not enough of them want to take the time to connect on a human level. Don’t forget that sometimes just a simple smile or hello can go a long way.
Jeff Detwiler, President & Chief Executive Officer of The Long & Foster Companies joins York Baur, CEO of MoxiWorks for Episode 12 of REAL with MoxiWorks. The two discuss advice for leaders during times of crisis, how to adapt your communication, and how we can all learn from this moving forward. Jeff shares his thoughts on how to help your agents (and you) avoid fatigue as we work through what he has designated the three phases of this crisis – the deterioration, trough and recovery phases. Jeff gives leaders advice on how to take care of themselves and shares why it’s critical that we keep our agents working both for your business and the economy as a whole.
We’re in this together — separately. Real Estate has always been a relationship-first type of industry, and during this situation, many agents and brokerages have gotten creative in pivoting to social-distancing friendly alternatives to their typical day in real estate. We’ve put our heads together to come up with 3 new ways to conduct your typical flow of business.
Number One – Buyer Seminars
Brokerages Holding Buyer Q&As or First-Time Homebuyer Seminars
You know the drill: an agent looking to drum-up buyer business partners up with a loan officer, orders a bunch of pizzas, and walks a group of neighbors and friends through all the ins and outs of home ownership. Those clients leave feeling less afraid of buying their first home and ready to evaluate their buying power. But, if we shouldn’t have people gathering in groups – especially in public spaces and sharing food – how do we recreate that atmosphere?
Host a Facebook Live Happy Hour to answer questions live for your sphere.
Agents for their sphere, or Brokerages for your entire company — start up a regular cadence of providing this kind of information virtually. Recreate the laid-back mood of pizza in a lounge by setting up a time that you’ll be Live on Facebook to answer questions and share info. Invite your friends and followers to ‘BYOS’ (bring your own snacks) and submit their questions through the comments section.
Number Two – The Pop-By
Dropping off ‘Pop-by’ Gifts for Your A-list Clients
A thematic pun, a thoughtful gift — this classic sales tactic perseveres because honestly, who doesn’t enjoy giving and receiving presents? However, now is not the time to be out and about, ringing doorbells or knocking on doors. We need to respect that some homes have residents whose immune systems need to be protected at all costs.
Send a digital gift card to your typical pop-by recipients.
Many large brands, but also a lot of small businesses, offer digital purchase and delivery of gift certificates. What are your clients probably looking for right now: Groceries? Entertainment? Send them a gift card for grocery delivery or to download a new eBook or movie!
Number Three – SOI Groups
Staying Top-of-mind by Staying in Sight
If your communication strategy depends on regularly scheduled meetings, you may have to pivot how you stay in touch with those individuals. Perhaps your business revolves around a community that you regularly meet with — outside of real estate. Many agents have spheres of business that involve their religious congregation, a work-out group, children’s sports team, or other gathering that is now on hiatus due to distancing orders.
Same Sphere, New Routine
Bring those groups together virtually, and be the shepherd that facilitates camaraderie and communication. Maybe your weekend bike-ride buddies can’t come out, so jump on a video chat and reminisce about some of the best trips you’ve taken. Got a group that normally goes to yoga? Ask your yogi to host a personal live video class for you and your crew!
What do I do now?
Just because we’ve had to change the ways we communicate and engage, doesn’t mean you need to fundamentally change the way you do real estate business. Here’s an exercise. Get a motivating beverage, sit in a comfy chair and do the following.
- Get out a sheet of paper and pen (or the doodle app on your smart device, whatever) and make a rough itinerary of a typical day-in-the-life of your business. Or – even better – what do you wish a typical day was like?
- Then, look at each activity and think about a creative way to engage your sphere virtually or digitally.
- Third step? Do it.
Now is the best time to try something new. We’re all more forgiving and understanding during the current crisis. We all enjoy something outside the mundane when we’re getting itchy waiting for this ‘storm’ to pass.
Did it succeed? Share your story! Did it flop? Learning opportunity.
Consider investing in the human element of your business. We’re all in this together, and for many that means ‘paycheck-to-paycheck’ isn’t even an option. Were you working with first-time homebuyers that may now need rent assistance? Find all of your community resources and be an advocate for your eventual-client to stay solvent so that when the time is right, they will qualify for their mortgage. You are their expert in real estate, their guide, and you can do that before and after a transaction – not just during.
Looking for more guidance? Explore MoxiWorks resources specifically around productivity, education, and positivity during the COVID-19 situation.
April 2, 2020 | June Laves, Sr. Marketing Manager
Real estate leaders, what do we do now?
It’s a wave we have to ride out, but we don’t have to do it alone. Every industry is being driven into mass-tech-adoption at a rapid speed due to social distancing and isolation. Real estate is no exception, but the key difference is we’re already able to handle this.
I had the pleasure of wrapping up the LeadingRE Annual Conference in Las Vegas last week with a presentation on why every real estate brokerage is a tech-enabled brokerage — a claim that some companies are trying to use as differentiation and value-position to compete for talent. But honestly, do you have a cell phone, perhaps you’re even reading this article on your phone right now? You, as a human, are tech-enabled and therefore so is your business.
And if you’re tech-enabled, you’re also a virtual brokerage. Perhaps you won’t want to operate as a virtual brokerage forever, but you are capable of pivoting temporarily to best serve your agents and their clients. Fear in the face of disruption can cause us to fall back into old habits, ruts of non-productivity, or drive us to seek control in the minutia around us.
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.”
– Marie Curie
A strong woman with wise words, Marie Curie’s quote can remind us that by focusing on the truth we will get through this and recover. As I always say, data tells the truth and data sets you free. In this article, I want to focus on a quick look at our industry’s economic history, what industry leaders need to be doing right now, and my 3 B’s for the time-being: Be Optimistic, Be Supportive, Be Productive.
Going Virtual Brings Us Together
On a ship over rough water, a captain can’t stay silent. At no point during this situation is it possible for brokers to over-communicate with their agents. No one has all the answers but talking it through always helps build confidence and trust.
Everyone is leaning into video communication. We still get to see each other’s smiling faces while preserving our goal of safety. Brokers, leaders, reach out to your sphere with one-on-one video calls. It’s 2020, we’re all capable of having a video chat, and it bridges one more gap that a standard phone call can’t provide. We’re telling agents to keep in contact with their clients, their sphere, their community. Practice what you preach, right? Call your agents, call your staff, call your partners.
Remote work employees have been facing the hurdle of building camaraderie without physical closeness in the workplace for years. At MoxiWorks, we have moxians and partners across the country bridging the gap. Now, we all have gotten a taste of that world — sitting in your house trying to have a meeting as the dog howls at a bird or your children forget their inside voices. The silver lining is this gives us all an opportunity to be sympathetic and supportive of each other.
We’re living this at MoxiWorks for several weeks now, with the entire company working remotely without any service interruption. We have the obvious advantage of being a technology company which helps, but we face the same cultural challenges that you. That’s why I’m saying that over-communication is so important. It’s human nature to fill in a void with the worst possible scenario and without communication, that’s exactly what your stakeholders will do. Don’t let there be a communication void – fill it with honest, transparent, supportive but optimistic communication. It’s not about having all the answers because none of us have them right now, it’s about being present as a leader.
Real Estate’s Response in Bear Markets
While the United States hasn’t entered a bear market due to viral outbreak before, it can be comforting to look at how we’ve bounced back from drops in the past. The good news? Event-driven drops (like our current situation around COVID-19) in the market are typically acute and recover much faster than structural drops (think 2007 Great Recession).
Goldman Sachs sent out a report on looking at severe declines, length in a down market, and time to recover/stabilize.
Make no mistake, this is an unprecedented time in history for everyone, but this is a storm we can weather in the real estate industry. MoxiWorks is proud to work with the strongest partners and clients, companies that survived through the housing bubble bursting and are going to pivot, survive and thrive again.
Real Estate Leaders, here’s what we do.
With that said, this isn’t a time to sit still. This is the time to link arms and lift each other up. In our MoxiWorks Town Hall we held virtually this week, I told all of our moxians: Be Optimistic, Be Supportive, and Be Productive. I’ll give you that very same advice.
- Be optimistic that local markets will bounce back, that your pipeline clients will still be ready when bans and restrictions lift. Be optimistic that your agents are solvent and with time, will help your business flourish again.
- Be supportive of each other, we are all humans in this together. Everyone needs time to reflect, to understand, to acclimate — but the speed we are moving at is going to be fast, so we need to help each other. This is a great time for fostering collaboration.
- Be productive no matter what. Give yourself a few seconds to catch your breath, then get back to work. Work on your sphere, evaluate your data, clean up your business and keep moving forward. We’ve got this. We’ve got moxie.
Competition, new players, technology — every disruptor you’ve faced before has trained you for this whether you knew it or not. Don’t let fear bring you to a crushing halt. Business has always been about inertia: an object in motion stays in motion. Like Marie Curie said, now is the time to learn more so we can fear less.
Let’s do this together,
P.S. On that note, at Moxi we’re going to go above-and-beyond to bring continued content for our clients and the industry. We’re kicking this content release off with a guide on how to host an ‘open house’ virtually using our MoxiPresent / M Present product. Check it out.