“We have been using electronic documents and signatures for quite a while now but it has been fantastic for all of us to become adept at using video meeting platforms like Zoom,” says Trista Cortis-Redfield. Photos by Ian Pokriefka
Instagram Q & A
Change is usually needed for one of two reasons: something isn’t working and a new direction needs to be taken, or, you fear complacency and want to move toward progress. For a company that has been in business since 1984 and been the Gold Standard in Real Estate, the latter is why they change. And this change for Century 21 Riverpointe is something to be excited about. At least that’s what owner E. Ann Redfield believes. PROFILE: What changes did you make to your operations during the pandemic?
TRISTA: Beginning in mid-March we put protocols in place to protect our agents staff and clients. These protocols included stopping physical Open Houses having sanitizer in every common area at our office having a schedule for sanitizing the office throughout the day and before/after clients came in. We also put protocols in place for protecting clients during showings and appointments.
Once the Governor’s order was given to shelter in place real estate was deemed a non-essential business therefore we had to essentially close the office. Our staff and agents continue to work remotely but we are not allowed to show homes or physically meet with clients until the Governor’s order is lifted. We have also continued to list and sell homes during the Stay at Home Order. Because we cannot show homes or have face-to-face meetings we had to become creative by meeting with clients virtually doing virtual showings using electronic signatures having contracts e-signed etc.
PROFILE: How did you communicate those changes to your clients?
TRISTA: We have really ramped up our social media presence during this time including Facebook Instagram and Twitter to help educate and inform our client base. We also have technology in place to email past clients of changes as they occur.
PROFILE: Did anything good come out of the pandemic?
REDFIELD: Absolutely! Our social media presence has greatly increased. We have now assigned social media platforms to each manager and we are posting daily. We are also learning new and innovative technology that we plan to continue regarding virtual meetings and live stream video. We have been using electronic documents and signatures for quite a while now but it has been fantastic for all of us to become adept at using video meeting platforms like Zoom to communicate with each other and with the public better.
Our agents and staff have been meeting via Zoom at least once a week to discuss what is happening in our industry. They share ideas on work growth and how we can assist and collaborate with our clients and the public. We have also been having live online training sessions with our agents twice a week to learn new software programs and hone our skills. We are very fortunate to be a part of the Century 21 system and we have all taken advantage of the various online training and classes that they provide for us. We have a state of the art intranet system to help us with advertising communication education and business planning so we’ll definitely keep learning and using this new technology to help our agents and our clients.
PROFILE: Has this epidemic brought you to new realizations about how to be better prepared for a similar disaster in the future? What things will you be doing differently once the virus subsides?
TRISTA: The epidemic has made us put policies and systems in place to work remotely. From a management standpoint although we have kept secure electronic records for years in compliance with federal and industry rules and guidelines we have gotten very proficient at using these electronic files daily even when we can’t be at the office. Although we are anxious to get back into the office to see our coworkers and clients in person we know that we can be successful and effective even while remote.
PROFILE: Do you have any plans for returning to normal and what would normal look like for your business?
TRISTA: Our plans on returning to normal will depend on the Governor’s orders and plan. However the Michigan Association of Realtors has sent the Governor’s office a bulletin asking for real estate to be considered an essential service and outlining ways to do that in a safe way for everyone. These include in the beginning stages not having many people congregating at the office together limiting physical showings to the decision makers having “Protocol Stations” that include masks booties gloves and sanitizer set up in the entryway of every listed property and using technology and video as much as possible in our advertising and negotiating.
Gradually and safely we plan on starting to meet clients face to face and we will take every precaution. Even once the epidemic has completely passed we look forward to the continued use of video and technology in our training meetings contracts and advertising. We believe that these things can only be of additional value to our clients and trusted real estate advisors as we continue forward in our industry. We have had a true focus on preparing for the surge of listings and sales that we know will take place once the Stay at Home order is lifted and we are excited.
We hope that we continue to make use of many of the habits we’ve developed such as families and friends talking more often and checking on one another and also people helping people and supporting our front-liners healthcare providers and essential workers. Everyone has an even greater appreciation for people and our way of life. We hope we never lose that.
Century 21 Riverpointe is located at 8173 Macomb, Grosse Ile. Call 734-671-3020 or visit century21riverpointe.com for more info.