Sept 2020 stats

DAY 214 of COVID-19 Battle Plan: Virtual Life & New Challenges

First of all, I cannot believe I did my first “COVID-19 Battle Plan” post 214 days ago on March 22nd! I guess time flies when you are having fun! LOL! Not!  But… we are adjusting. I hope this does not become our new normal. So many things have changed. Then again, many have just evolved.  Some, I think, will be a permanent new state of affairs. Take, for example, virtual showings. Virtual showings, while much more prevalent now, have been part of our Realtor toolbox for ages! Check out my video done in early 2018. We were using an iPhone and a gimble and had a lot of fun with it. (Fortunately, I was blessed to be ably assisted by Niki Maturi, my Assistant Extraordinaire; Photographer; Videographer; and Graphic Artist!) I thought about this fun video earlier this week, because it was a virtual showing. Prior to this, I had made many videos to send to a client while previewing and sometimes, using Facebook Messenger or Skype, we held live video tours. This particular virtual showing was videoed live and then later edited for a promo video. (Niki and I actually had a lot of fun doing this and subsequently have done several “I LOVE MY JOB!” videos.) But now, rather than an occasional occurrence, we are conducting virtual tours and Open Houses for our clients almost daily. Of course, there are differences. One big change is that we would all be wearing masks! Another less sobering one is that before it was Skype or Facetime we used. Now it is more often ZOOM or What’s App, especially for our International Buyers!

Here is a BIG CHANGE: With inventory today at a two-month supply, the beachfront house in this video would have sold very quickly, even at $1000/sf,  if only for the lot value! Instead it took almost 1.5 years to sell and finally did close at $1,561,000 versus original asking price of $1,795,000. With over 1000 people per day moving to Florida, we are STARVING for inventory. There were 36% fewer listings in our area in Sept 2020 versus Sept 2019! But our total Sales/Dollar Volume for September  2020 versus 2019 was up by $1.5 billion or 38%! The average sales price is also up by 18% for 2020 versus 2019! The ‘moral’ of the story is that it is a VERY GOOD TIME TO BE A SELLER! And with mortgage rates almost ludicrously low and rental rates exceedingly high, it is also a GOOD TIME TO BUY!

The challenges in today’s market are:  As a Buyer, how to you buy intelligently? (Forget about buying cheaply unless you are prepared to do extensive rehab.)  And as a Seller, how do you achieve the best price? I recently had a listing appointment with a client that intended to do a FSBO, i.e., a For Sale By Owner. I am going to talk about that transaction and the challenges in another post. Suffice it to say that in our market, at every Open House, there is both a live and virtual stream of people to reach and manage. Then there is the potential for bidding wars. (Personally, I do not like them – but that too will be covered in a future post.) There is also the issue of the appraisals. Cash is KING, as always. Today CASH is even more important, as escalating prices are not always acknowledged by the appraiser.  That means advocating for your non-cash Buyers is another important skill.  Safety, while always a concern, now has a whole new twist!

What’s the bottom line? Life and business go on. We evolve! 214 days later I still get out of bed one foot at a time. I lament that moment when I reluctantly, but religiously step on the scale. (More so 214 days later than I did, by the way! ;o) I work seven days per week, every week – not 5 or 6!  But, I  am not complaining! I am happy to have a job. And that job manages to help me keep my people employed. And my people help our property management clients to earn income, paying their bills. As so on and so forth. The truth is, like in the video, I am truly grateful and “I DO love my job!”

Day 37: Day One of My New “COVID-19 Battle Plan”

Moral of this story:  EVERYTIME you smugly think to yourself, “I got this!” THIS, GETS YOU!  

Before I begin, I want to say two HUGE THANK YOU’s:

  • To Pinellas County Sheriff Todd Brien, who was kind enough to drive my husband home, despite the blood – You Saved his life! Thank you. He never could have walked home. And as he had a heart attack shortly thereafter, I know he never would have made the 1/2 mile walk back home that morning. You are our hero!
  • To the Staff of St. Anthony’s Hospital in Downtown St. Petersburg, which is more than just a beautiful spot! Downtown St. Petersburg is also a hub of incredible medical facilities and practitioners, to whom we all owe a huge debt of gratitude.

fIRST reSPONDERS FRONTLINE WORKERSThank you! 

On April 13th, (which would have been Day 23 of my battle plan), I began the day full of vim and vigor and a concerted desire to get EVERYTHING back on track. I finished my morning Zoom “huddle” with my Team, during which time I presented my COVID-19 Battle Plan Challenge:

  • Continuously
  • Operating
  • Very
  • Intentionally
  • Daily for
  • 19 Days!

Feeling quite pleased with myself and my team’s reaction, I went through the thought process that turned this around for me. Because while this is FOR SURE, a dreadful time, it is also an opportunity to change, focus and plan. Things are going to be different. Some things will be negative, some will be positive. For example:

EXAMPLES OF BENEFITS OF THIS PROFESSIONAL AND PERSONAL INTROSPECTION:

  • I cut the fat from many unnecessary expenditures that have lightened my bank account and drained resources that I could very well use right now. (Frankly, I am ashamed at how uncontrolled some of my spending had been!)
  • I am focusing on core business growth activities and redefining my 2020 Business Plan.
  • I am spending quality time with my husband, once again working from home.

WHAT MY COVID-19 BATTLE PLAN LOOKED LIKE ON THE MORNING OF DAY 23, Monday 4/13:

  • I time blocked my day and had recorded in 30 minute intervals what I was doing.
  • I signed up for webinars that included education that I have been meaning to do.
  • I made a pledge to myself via the webinars to learn how to use FREE technology from my marvellous franchise, NextHome.
  • By 10am, I had a $300,000 closing on a listing. (Of course, it was in absentia. But the check was in the mail!)
  • With terms verbally agreed, I wrote a listing agreement.
  • I started going through emails and completing office work when….

My husband returned from his bike ride, bloodied and injured. An SUV pulling a trailer failed to heed the red light and hit him on the crosswalk. He was banged up and bloody. He was experiencing chest pain. He was reluctant to go to the hospital because of COVID-19.  We went. (I am a force of nature when required.) In addition to the multitude of other injuries, he had a ‘mild’ heart attack. I am so glad that we went to the hospital. Yes, COVID-19 is there; but, the staff are doing their level best to separate those poor individuals from the general population of patients hitting the ER for the normal things that happen.

I tell you this because  EVERYTIME you smugly think to yourself, “I got this!” THIS, seems to GET YOU!  

However, we live to fight another day. And today, twenty days from my last blog post, I have done my best to to get back on track; to be intentional. THIS is Day One of my Continuously Operating Very Intentionally Daily for 19 Days!

Thank you again to the First Responders, Medical Professionals and Frontline Workers, (lest we forget people such as our devoted Publix staff.) Thank you for all you do in the face of the adversity we are experiencing. My days are easy next to yours. My challenges are not life threatening. My sacrifices are inconsequential. Thanks and blessings to you all.