Our 2020 rennie leaders Reflect on Their Commitment to Serve during a Pandemic

It is not possible to reflect upon the past year without acknowledging the impact and implications Covid-19 has had on us across all scales, including the housing market and the real estate industry as a whole. Our 2020 rennie leaders, the 26 rennie advisors who are top producers within both our brokerage and the real estate industry, had to adapt not just to the ever-evolving "new normal" but adjust the way they approached their business and serviced their clients. At its core, real estate is about taking care of others and building relationships. During a pandemic, or perhaps, especially during a pandemic, the way our advisors care for, protect, and serve their clients can truly make a difference beyond the selling or buying of a home. 

We asked our rennie leaders to reflect on the importance of taking care of others during a pandemic. How did they pivot their business to meet new client needs and market regulations? How did they make their clients feel "safe" in an uncertain time? Here we gain insight on how our rennie leaders rose to the challenge and as a result, strengthened their client relationships. 

On a commitment to serve
Shelly Vellani: Despite facing my own personal and professional challenges during those early months of the pandemic, I knew how important it was to fulfill my duty as a real estate advisor. I realized then how much more important my role was; I was essential to my clients in ensuring they felt safe and confident in buying or selling their homes in an uncertain market. It wasn't easy to navigate but I did what I do best, serving my clients by listing and selling their homes!

On staying a step ahead
Chris Boyd: There are always challenges that arise when the housing market shifts suddenly and being able to recognize the shift happening in advance has created opportunities for me to educate and prepare my clients. Staying constantly informed with the latest data has contributed to my ability to stay ahead as an advisor and in turn, I am better able to help my clients navigate the market strategically and proactively. 

On helpful technology  
Jane Chu: I've really loved using Zoom to easily showcase presentation materials or for a more intentional check-in with my buyers and sellers. My clients seem to be a lot more receptive to this and as a result, my customer service opportunities have increased during Covid.

On little acts of kindness
Vivien Ma: Through social media, I have learned new things about my clients during Covid, such as their favorite foods, what they were cooking, and the recipes they're using. One of them was so kind to drop off dessert at my house with a handwritten note when their kids biked through my neighbourhood. I passed on the act of kindness by dropping off dim sum or other goodies to them and my senior clients.

On the beauty of checking-in
Lorenzo Daminato: In many ways, the pandemic has helped me create closer connections with my clients as it opened up the door for conversations that were general and nothing to do with real estate. More than ever, I was picking up the phone to ask, "How are you and the family doing?" The sincerity of these casual conversations has turned client relationships into friendships. I also reconnected with old friends and it reignited those connections that were never forgotten but faded away due to busy lives and growing families. These simple gestures can have a powerful and positive ripple effect.

On creative solutions
Joanne Hoekstra: I worked with a number of my clients last year in selling tenant-occupied properties. We got creative, facilitating appraisals with photos, video walkthroughs, and by [permitted] peaking through windows. We would allow for viewings only with accepted offers and utilized enhanced safety and cleaning protocols, from detailed showing instructions to one-way traffic flows, and disinfectant spray cleaning. When I did show the property, it was important to make sure that the tenants were able to return knowing their home was safe. I no longer go anywhere without a full bag of PPE and cleaning supplies.

On putting clients first
Shelly Vellani: When my daughter's school shut down during the early months of the pandemic, I found it very challenging to juggle parenting and working full time without child care. I had homes that I needed to show and sell, and listing appointments to attend, all while having my daughter with me. I had to get creative by co-listing my listings or have my little one wait in the car with a very helpful colleague friend, Nagib Karim, while I attended the showing or listing appointment. While this set-up was not ideal, I was adamant that my clients were taken care of. I was not going to let anything stop me nor let anyone down. 

On helping clients feel safe 
Lorenzo Daminato: To ensure the health and safety of my clients and those I interacted with daily, I was very mindful and quick to adopt recommended /mandatory safety measures. To lessen the need to expose potential buyers to tour my listings physically, I utilize Matterport to create virtual tours, get professional photography, and provide a detailed floor plan of the home. This detailed information helped to qualify buyers before scheduled showings. I also ensured that health questionnaires were completed, masks and gloves were worn, and that the homes were prepared with doors open and lights on. Showings should be as touchless as possible for the benefit of both buyer and seller.

On feeling grateful
Mike Ross: I’m beyond grateful for every one of my clients, particularly during these difficult times. The silver lining to the pandemic is that it built even stronger relationships, trust, and support amongst my clients and colleagues. Together we all grew and adapted to our new reality and are better now for it. I consider it a privilege to have been able to work throughout this time and I’m very excited to see what the future brings!

On being persistent
Shelly Vellani: Some people needed to sell their homes because they lost their job, or some needed a bigger space to accommodate working from home. No matter the reason that propelled the need to change homes during a pandemic, it was a challenging time for everyone not knowing what to do or how to react during this challenging time. In one instance, I was working with a seller who feared buyers coming into their home but worried even more that their home might not sell. We had no choice but to keep with the plan of selling because to complete on their new home, it was contingent on selling their old home. Surprisingly enough, the market was responding to the listing and there seemed to be a surge of activity.

On striking a balance
Eric Zamora: Last year while in the thick of pivoting for Covid mixed with the demands of the market, I came across a quote that really resonated with me, "The greatest gift you can ever give someone is your time." Needless to say, that hit me hard and I realized just how important it is to have a work-life balance. Having that balance meant reserving time well in advance for the family and friends that are dearest to you and who nourish your own needs to then be a better Realtor.

On being a beam of support
Chris Boyd: Throughout the pandemic, I have made it my resolve to ensure each of my clients were supported and I made sure to take that extra step to let them know that I care and am there for them. This can be as simple as calling to say hello or to ask how they are doing. I found sharing our experiences with one another helped nourish our bond.

A big thank you to the rennie leaders Christoper Boyd, Eric Zamora, Jane Chu, Joanne Hoekstra, Lorenzo Daminato, Mike Ross, Shelly Vellani, and Vivien Ma for sharing their career experiences with us and how they nurtured their client relationships during this pandemic. 

Congratulations to our 2020 rennie leaders: Andy Mah, Art Seroff, Brandan Price, Brandon Blue, Calvin Kan, Charlie Kim, Christopher Boyd, Clarke Mallory, Dal Milin, Danny Chow, Derek Kai, Eric Langhjelm, Eric Zamora, Hanson Lu, Jane Chu, Jason Lai, Joanne Hoekstra, Lorenzo Daminato, Mike Ross, Ryan O'Hearn, Ryan Wong, Salina Kai, Shelly Vellani, Simon Lai, Tracy Lam, and Vivien Ma

Our full-service brokerage will help you build your career through a supportive and collaborative environment with consistent mentorship, and the opportunity to align yourself with our reputation for real estate excellence. Learn more here.

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