With Terry Story, a 31-year veteran with Keller Williams located in Boca Raton, FL
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During this week’s Real Estate Roundup, Steve spoke with Terry Story, a 31-year veteran at Keller Williams, about how the real estate industry is adjusting to innovatively conduct business during the coronavirus pandemic.
Realtors Getting Innovative
Steve first asked Terry to talk about one big change in the real estate industry—big conference calls between agents all across the country. “We have giant conference calls each week. We try to find out what each agent is hearing and seeing. A lot of agents have started doing webinars to show first-time buyers what their options are or straight-out buyers that we can still get them into the home they want, pandemic or no pandemic.” Terry shared. The most important thing about this innovative approach is that the essential information still gets to the potential client while practicing social distancing.
Terry, herself, decided to get ahead of the game by carefully tracking home sales in Palm Beach County. “As realtors, we’re foot soldiers,” she said. “We know what’s going on in the industry before any reports reflect it. With this information, I can spot a trend before it’s reported as a trend.”
How Buyers Can Help Themselves
Getting innovative during this pandemic is something you can and should do, too, if you’re a prospective home buyer.
Terry explained, “You’re going to have an area in mind. You can get a real sense of the neighborhoods in that area without ever leaving your car. Drive around. Use Google maps to find spots of interest such as restaurants, shops, and schools. Pay attention to things like traffic patterns. Remember that once you move, traffic is going to get heavier once everyone can be out and about freely. And use online databases for neighborhood data and statistics.” Steve added that using Google maps to actually see what a neighborhood looks like can be a big help to someone looking for a new home.
Getting proactive now will help you get a sense of what it would be like to live in different areas. This will help you narrow down what homes are actually of interest to you. Then, once you’ve settled on a neighborhood that meets your needs, call a realtor to get professional advice. They’ll be able to help you find homes that will work for you and set up virtual tours.
To learn more about buying or selling a home, check out Keller Williams.
Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily of the radio show. Interviewee is not a representative of the radio show. Investing involves risk and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. Content provided is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered tax, legal, investment advice. Please contact your tax, legal, financial professional with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. The information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. All data are driven from publicly available information and has not been independently verified by the radio show.
Steve Pomeranz: It’s time for Real Estate Roundup. This is the time every single week we get together with noted real estate agent Terry Story. Terry is a 31-year veteran with Keller Williams located in Boca Raton, Florida. Welcome back to the show, Terry.
Terry Story: Thanks for having me, Steve.
Steve Pomeranz: I’ll tell you I got to give it to your industry, give kudos to your industry because when the going gets tough, you guys are always thinking of ways, and you’re talking to each other. You’re having these huge conference calls where people are sharing ideas.
Before we really get started, I think you told me that you have 1200 agents on a big conference call and what are they talking about every, well, let’s say this week? What were they talking about?
Terry Story: So every day actually, we get on and say, “Hey, what good is going on? What do you see out there?” And again, it’s from people from literally all over the world and there’s business going on everywhere. We’re hearing about multiple offers. All the agents are adapting and finding ways to make business continue on because you know what? We’re one of the essentials, food, water, and shelter. And so we are deemed essential. People have to have a house, they have to have a roof over their head, be it that they rent a home or they own a home. Either way, they need shelter.
Steve Pomeranz: What are some of the best ideas that you’ve heard in the way that other agents are changing their mode of business?
Terry Story: So a lot of them are just trying to reach out to the widest audience. And a lot of them are starting to do conferences whereby, or webinars invite, first-time home buyers or straight out buyer seminars, telling people, showing them how they can buy a house, how things are different in today’s market than it was six, seven weeks ago. So that seems to be a real popular one. And then another real common one is sellers. Gee, I want to sell my house, but how do I go about doing this? How is it being done? So a lot of agents are putting these webinars together and then they’re promoting them. They’re going out through social media, they’re going out to FaceTime, they’re going Instagram, different methods of communicating that they’re still in business.
Steve Pomeranz: I know you’re putting out a weekly video. Tell us a little bit about that.
Terry Story: Yeah, so basically, as realtors we ‘re foot soldiers if you will. We’re out in the field. We know what’s going on before the reports reflect it. So I am monitoring the activity weekly. How many pending sales have we had this week? How many transactions are taking place? How many new listings? How many closings? And looking for a trend before the trend is even being reported.
Steve Pomeranz: So you’re doing that with yourself or is there someone else you’re doing that with?
Terry Story: I’m just tracking it myself and I’m tracking it, it’s all the sales and all the transactions in Palm Beach County. I’ve actually broken it into Palm Beach County, the city, Boca Raton, the areas that I specialize in. So I’m tracking at different levels just to see what’s happening. And Steve, to give you an example, last week versus this week in Palm Beach County, we saw an increase of 20% of contracts go hard or offers put together and come together.
Steve Pomeranz: Well, you think if everybody’s sheltering in place, you’d wonder why there would be any transactions now at all. Why?
Terry Story: Well, it’s quite simple. People need to move; people have to have homes. And what we saw in the earlier weeks of this COVID, it really was flat dead. Really, really, very little to no activity and it’s been increasing ever since because people are realizing, all right, realtors are out there. They’ve found a way to do business. We’re doing virtual tours, we’re doing, when appropriate, masks, gloves, booties, whatever’s needed, and bringing people into the property. But agents themselves are working differently. Buyers and sellers are having to work differently. The title companies are having to work differently. So we’ve adapted rapidly. And Steve, the interesting thing is this technology has always been here for us. It’s actually, pushed us two years ahead and forcing us all into becoming that tech-savvy agent.
Steve Pomeranz: So how’s that going?
Terry Story: It’s great. I love it.
Steve Pomeranz: But wait a minute, you being tech-savvy, how’s that going?
Terry Story: I’m adapting at a faster… I’ve been thrown into it, let’s just say it the way that it is. Watching a lot of webinars.
Steve Pomeranz: What you described, I think, will be carried across the full spectrum of businesses. This idea of working remote, not having to get in your car and drive here, there, maybe even to an office. I don’t know if this is true, but I have seen some reports where they say that people are more efficient when they’re working at home. For me, I would think that if I had a team, I would want to be face to face with the team. Though not 24/7, I guess.
Terry Story: Right. My team is in my house.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah. All right, let’s get to some more information here. I love this infographic that was put together. Now, obviously, we’re on the radio, so we can’t use an infographic, but we can describe it. The title is, “How to Test Drive a Neighborhood while Sheltering in Place.” We’ve got about a minute left.
Terry Story: Yep. So basically, check out neighborhood publications and local social media about the area. Take a walk with Google. Go onto Google maps and check it all out to see what’s around. Browse different websites and neighborhood data, explore reviews and local restaurants and cost of living. There are all kinds of statistics that you can find through the city and Chamber of Commerce and investigate schools and educational data. There’s great information on the sites about the different schools. Check safety ratings. Most of the police departments have some form of crime statistics. Understand your daily commute. So how long will it take you to get from point A to point B. Now, here’s the secret. Don’t judge it based on today. If you’re moving, you think it’s only a 30-minute commute and you drive it today and there’s not that much traffic. Realize that there’s going to be a lot more. And then, of course, call a real estate agent. Use a professional that you trust.
Steve Pomeranz: Well, of course.
Terry Story: Yeah. Of course, go ahead. Give us a call.
Steve Pomeranz: The one idea that I like about using Google is that you can kind of see what your neighbor’s house looks like and if you see an old Ford pickup truck in the back or something that might give you a little bit of an idea. Nothing against old Ford pickup trucks, by the way.
My guest as always is Terry Story, a 31-year veteran with Keller Williams located in Boca Raton and she can be found at terrystory.com. Thanks, Terry.
Terry Story: Thanks for having me, Steve.