New era – new agent

by Arlene Castellano

Amid a worldwide pandemic, we forged a new path into the future. Technology became paramount to our survival. What would have taken us years, if not decades, took merely months to figure out and eventually perfect. Amongst the turmoil wrought by the pandemic arose a new type of real estate agent.

Real estate agents are underrated. We are seen as mere facilitators of homebuying and selling transactions. The average person doesn’t know how resilient we must be in order to provide them with the best experience possible. Every day is different. Every transaction is different. Every day, we must juggle the twists and turns through which each transaction takes us. It’s not just selling houses, it’s the roller coaster ride that we must control up until a successful closing.

I remember the moment I was told I couldn’t conduct any business because we were in pandemic lockdown. I’m a single mom of two kids, with bills, as well as many other responsibilities. What was I going to do? I contacted everyone I knew in the business. My volunteer efforts at my local REALTOR® association afforded me access to information before most other agents. I was told our local, state and national associations were working on a solution.

Thankfully, after what seemed like an eternity (which was actually a short week or two), we were able to conduct business again, but under very strict rules. Along with these rules there were legitimate fears from all parties around getting close to people at risk of personal safety. As bleak as the situation seemed, we got back to work without hesitation, finding a new way to do business. It was do or die (well, do or give up), and I had no choice but to figure out how I could work, care for my kids while they were home attending school online and not lose my mind. I had to learn to work smarter, not harder; I couldn’t afford to work harder, I was maxed out as it was. I know I’m not the only one — we all had our stresses to overcome while trying to work on our businesses.

It was in this moment I realized we couldn’t play the game by the old rules anymore. So, why did it seem like everyone was doing the same things? When I first started, I remember how green I felt. I felt intimidated and overwhelmed, but I believed in my ability to figure it out. Thankfully, I had and still have an amazing mentor who put things in perspective for me early on. That’s how most of us learn the business, from our mentor. If the process isn’t broken, why fix it? But even if the process isn’t broken, it still might not be the right process for you or might be one to which you can make improvements.

What the pandemic did was take each and every one of us out of our comfort zones and force us to think beyond what we historically knew of our businesses. This is when we showed our true resilience as not only agents, but also as people. As a proud REALTOR®, I’ve seen few more profound demonstrations of strength and resourcefulness. We came together and not only found new ways to change the business but also ourselves. We utilized technology in ways I wouldn’t have thought would happen for another decade. We were apart but became closer than ever. Every day it seems as though agents are exploring new ways to do things in our field —  marketing, finding leads, interacting with each other and more. It’s an exciting time in our business.

What did we learn through all this? We learned is there are no limits, there are no boundaries — only the extent of our imagination. To all the new agents entering the field, don’t let anyone tell you how to run your business. Follow your gut, follow your heart and don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way. Most importantly get involved in your local REALTOR® association because the wealth of knowledge and experience you will gain access to will propel you into a success that you never imagined. Believe in yourself and never give up.

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