In California, the stay-at-home order has been extended once again. This time lasting through at least May 15, if not longer. With only essential businesses open and operating, many businesses are still finding ways to adjust to the curve ball COVID-19 threw to us all.
David and Sandy Stites are the business partners in charge of a Southern California real-estate team deemed an essential business during this pandemic. Although they have the green light to continue working, the circumstances surrounding the real-estate world have greatly changed since the start of the year.
“It’s tough right now, you know? We’re not getting as many calls, we’re not getting as many escrows, we’re not getting as many listings, but we’re still getting a large market share of them. It’s just not what we’re used to,” David Stites said.
Countless small businesses across the state and nation have been hit hard by this pandemic and stay-at-home order. While many understand it is for the overall health, safety, and protection of everyone, many wish to continue working as normal as possible.
“We’re used to running 35 to 40 escrows at any given time and right now we’re kind of in that 20 range. We’re blessed and grateful for the continued business right now, but definitely looking to get back up,” David Stites said.
“We are going on the fourth week, as it’s been a month, since the stay-at-home order began,” Sandy Stites said. “If you know Team Stites we always work in the office and we always encourage our agents to come in. We feel like that’s more productive. Having to work from home I was determined to set up a more structured schedule. My morning routine has never been more solid.”
Sandy has phone calls every weekday morning beginning at 4:30am, 5:00am, a Team Stites team huddle call a 7:00am, a 9:00am accountability call with their staff admin team, a Team Stites work time call at 10, and a final follow-up call with admin at 4:00pm to wrap up the workday.
“We do our 7 o’clock call Monday through Friday with the team to get all the agents up and get their day started and out of bed,” David Stites said.
“It seems like there are a lot of agents out there that were looking for an excuse to stay at home,” David Stites said. “They were looking for an excuse not to work, and it’s easy to fall into that but it is very important for all of us to come out of this as a better agent, as a better person, healthier, stronger, more fit. There’s no reason that someone can’t come out of this in a [better] position than when we went into it.”
David Stites said that homes are still selling during this time. Sales are down, however, close to 25% to 30%. There have been a percentage of buyers that have “dropped off” because of cut work hours or have loss a job temporarily.
Team Stites also advised against home flipping as an investment type property during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rentals are still a great buy, but any type of short term flip “I would be very wary about”.
“If you are a buyer right now and you still have a job, I highly recommend still buying,” he said. “If you wait for COVID-19 to be done you are going to join the thousands of buyers that had to wait for this whole thing to be done. You’re going to see a lot of competition, interest rates higher.”
Although COVID-29 has hit many highly populated states hard, things are not hopeless. You can still be with your family, can still order in food to support local restaurants, and can even still buy and sell your home.
“I’m excited for this whole thing to be over,” David Stites said. “I hope its not too much longer, maybe it sounds like a month or two months max. I’m hopeful.”