Totally by coincidence, before we ever heard the phrase COVID-19, we wrote an article in the January edition of The Apple Peeled that explored our obligation to stay at home or to go to work when we’re feeling under the weather.
Here’s an excerpt from that article:
“Even on mornings when you’ve barely slept because your cough was like a loud snooze button that violently shook your whole body every 7-9 minutes, you try to convince yourself that you’ll feel better after a shower, some Dayquil, and a cup of coffee. After absorbing that trifecta, on a scale of 1 to 10, you might feel like you’re a 7, which is good enough because you couldn’t possibly skip work unless you were at a 9.
“So, you shame yourself into being a team player… But, at what cost?
“What about your co-workers and what about all those innocent people on Metro North or on the subway? How can you be sure you’re not contagious?“
We wrote that article because one of our team members tried to be a hero during our 2020 planning sessions by showing up with a suppressed cough due to cold. It spread like wildfire throughout our team and then to some of their family members.
Pre-Covid-19, people came to work sick all the time. That was pretty normal. In fact, a majority might find it commendable. We’re guessing that’s one of the ways our world will change. Don’t you think people will be more conscious of spreading germs after this?
Can we agree to adopt the “fist bump” as a business-appropriate form of greeting? At least open it up for debate?
We know there are a lot of old school businesspeople out there who want to look someone in the eye while they shake their hand. But isn’t part of being a good businessperson assessing risk? Aren’t you putting yourself at a greater risk of missing valuable work time due to sickness by remaining a handshaker? Are you also putting your workforce at risk if you’re shaking their hands?
It’s something to think about…
How crazy has 2020 been? Could anything happen that would surprise you at this point? Maybe an alien escape from Area 51?
All kidding aside, we start every conversation asking about each other’s health, no matter who we’re talking to. Because that’s what’s most important right now. That’s one of the really nice things that’s come from this difficult experience – People genuinely care about other people, and it’s easier to prioritize the things that are most important in our lives. Sure, many of us suffer from an intolerable case of political agita (it doesn’t even matter which side of the fence you stand), but that shouldn’t stop us from wishing one another good health in uncertain times.
Our team had everything planned out for 2020. We spent days mapping out the entire year. Our special projects. Our marketing campaigns. Budgets. New team members. A reorganization. The structure we put in place has helped us to maintain some level of normalcy during a completely abnormal time.
Before all this, every Monday the whole team met face-to-face in a conference room. Now all the magic happens on Zoom. On Thursdays, our agents meet individually with our marketing director and our business development director to help formulate and advance their business plans. Zoom has been a savior for those meetings too.
Right now, as real estate agents, we’ve got our hands tied behind our backs. We can’t show apartments. Most people don’t want to see them anyway. So, we figured we needed to stay sharp. Last week, we created two very detailed and very hypothetical scenarios.
- A surgeon who was moving from Houston to New York and wanted a $3 Million apartment within walking distance of work (along with many other requests).
- A woman who just ended a relationship and needed to rent a new apartment very quickly.
All of the agents spent a week analyzing the wants and needs of these hypothetical clients, in search of the perfect place for these clients to live. During the Monday Zoom call, each agent had about 3 minutes to make a presentation and state their case.
Honestly, it was a proud moment for this team. Every agent took the exercise seriously. They considered all the facts and latched onto the tiniest details to help identify the unit they thought matched closest with the search criteria.
Our rent specialist Hana McGrath was the only agent to choose the rental situation and she nailed the assignment, checking off every box in our jilted lover’s search with a rental at 102 Mott Street.
Marie Espinal and Joseph Chaplin chose the exact same building for our surgeon from Texas – 130 William Street. Inez Gomez texted a picture of her notes during the meeting, showing the same building was her 2nd choice. We think it’s a good sign that three members of the team chose a unit in the same building – great minds think alike.
Jeff Adler is a huge fan of 25 Park Row. His face lights up whenever there’s reason to talk about it. So, he had an easy time making a case for a unit in the building.
Preston Maguire chose a unit at 100 Barclay. He highlighted the wine tasting room, the high-end kitchen, and the nearby parks so the surgeon could walk his dog.
Jessica Escobar found a unit at 148 Chambers that coincidentally is being sold by another doctor. It came in under budget and had a professional kitchen with a vented gas range and a deep sink, all features who would make the surgeon very happy, as he’s also an aspiring chef. She noted that the central air conditioning would be appreciated by someone coming from Houston. The apartment also had wine storage and a wine store in the same building. Jessica also found a guide for cool things a teenager could do in Tribeca, since the doctor’s 15-year old son would spend summers in New York.
Listening to a client and using the information they provide to identify the home that provides the best chance for the highest quality of life requires a very particular set of skills.
“It’s a muscle that you have to exercise,” Escobar said of conducting a property search.
Marie Espinal went through an entire financial exercise with our hypothetical surgeon, standard protocol for all of her clients, thanks certainly to an extensive background in finance. She matched the surgeon’s criteria, but also dug deeper into his short-and long-term investment objectives. She offered three scenarios, including owning a second unit in the same building as an investment property, all while staying within budget.
“You’ve got to dig into the numbers,” Espinal told the team.
Right now, the only thing that is certain as that nothing is certain.
Every day, our clients have questions. Professionals we work with have questions for us. We have questions for them.
The Espinal Adler Team publishes a newsletter every month called The Apple Peeled. In that publication, we try our best to answer the questions we hear along the way. But right now, since there are even more questions being asked, we wanted to create a platform that would allow us to answer more questions more often and more directly than our newsletter.
So, we are introducing “The Apple Peeled Live”: NYC Real Estate with Espinal Adler Team. We’ll have a live conversation every week, sometimes amongst Jeff and Marie and other members of the team, and sometimes we’ll have other industry professionals as guests to try to make sense of this new landscape.
The show will be available HERE every Monday at 12pm EST (book mark it to make it easy to find!)
Business as Usual?
It’s not quite business as usual.
We’ve put our marketing campaigns on hold, and we’re obviously not showing apartments, but we still have several clients who are in contract to buy or sell a home.
Some are facing issues with employment. Others are on hold, waiting for a bank to figure out how to arrange a closing in the age of social distancing. Some of our clients are being delayed because the building they are buying into awaits an approval from agencies that are short-staffed. No matter what the issue is, it’s up to us to help facilitate a solution and to properly communicate to our clients the strategies we’ve enacted.
Separate from our clients that are in contract, there are others who are considering their options – investors, who think it’s the right time to buy into this market, and sellers who are weighing different exit strategies. Every day, we’re having these conversations.
So, our days are different. But our day planners are just as packed as always.