Success under stress: Turning the turmoil to opportunity

Amid all the dire warnings of economic collapse, FVREB member and REALTOR® Mohamed Mansour at Sutton Group West Coast Realty, is of two minds on the future that this pandemic is bringing with it.

On the one hand, the successful businessman does not believe this is the time for Realtors to throw up their hands in defeat, but rather, a moment to seize the opportunities that have opened up.

“This is a great opportunity to grow market share,” says Mohamed, “and to go back to the basics to do what any successful Realtor does in this industry, build relationships and be there for your clients.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to leverage the fact that you can’t see them face to face, so you make the calls, you build the connections, you build on the relationships, and be in front of them, when other Realtors are running scared or sitting around watching Netflix all day.”

That is one perspective he holds.

On the other hand, as a Canadian citizen, Mohamed is “extremely worried.” He believes that with so much money flooding the market in government bailouts, our cost of living will be much higher in the future to support these costs. 

He also points out that many businesses can’t even make lease payments on their commercial space right now, so even if they reopen in two or three months, it will be difficult for them to stay afloat with many thousands of dollars behind in payments.

“I don’t think the full impact of this is fully understood yet,” observes Mohamed. “Some of my clients who are business owners have had to lay off hundreds of people. They’re only going to be able to rehire half that as they keep costs down when restrictions ease.”

Mohamed became a Realtor in 2004, so while he was there for the 2008 downturn, he does not recall it having the same debilitating effect of the current lockdown. However, the battle scars from that year did teach him to insulate himself for future downturns in the market.

“If anything I think I will be looking at acquiring assets at the end of the year.”

Due to physical distancing Mohamed has suspended a number of his regular client-friendly practices, such as parties and ‘pop bys’ at clients’ homes as well as weekly in-person team huddles and office lunches.

And like everyone else who’s still in the game, Mohamed has adapted to the public health measures by using technologies to maintain client relationships and help his clients with their real estate needs. 

“Nothing we do online will ever sell a house by itself,” says Mohamed. “You don’t just go online and hit the ‘buy button’ for a home. But, when done right, it’s crucial to getting people through the door.”

Use of virtual walk-throughs, virtual meeting spaces and digital signatures have definitely helped Mohamed keep transactions going. 

Predicting home prices is not something Mohamed dabbles in, but he believes that British Columbia’s real estate market will endure through the economic upheaval we are seeing now.

“I always make a distinction between housing prices and volume,” Mohamed says.  “And I suspect because of BC’s climate, and how well it has handled COVID, that BC will continue to be a place that people will want to come to.”

“And, home ownership is ingrained in Canadians for the last two or three generations. It’s only when people stop wanting to own real estate that we as Realtors aren’t in business.”

“If I was a new Realtor coming into this now, I’d say it’s an opportunity to build connections and pursue opportunities not usually available, because there is a lot of business on the table right now.”

Source: FVREB Communications