As a seasoned realtor who has many years of experience, I was faced with the unusual task of successfully selling real estate this past year during the COVID pandemic. Having to deal with COVID both on a personal and professional level, I was presented with an unprecedented challenge of doing my job right. Concern of typical open house shutdowns, fear of owners to let people in for viewings, and social distancing rules could have allowed for stagnation of marketing and selling homes during our infamous year of 2020. However, fortunately and much to my surprise, activity in real estate was at an all-time high. The phenomenon of lines around the corner became common when the open house rules became relaxed, and people running from the city due to constrained spaces have allowed for suburban attraction and allure augmenting the pool of buyers. A seller’s market is the current reality reflecting demand to be greater than the supply.
So, now that another banner year is coming to a close, I ask myself, what was the most important factor to me in selling real estate during this strange time? I’ve searched for the perfect answer and a pivotal response that would also allow for continued growth and fine-tuning. The answer I came up with is “relationship building.” In spite of the social distancing rules, I am proud to report that I feel confident that even within the purview of physical restrictions, the warmth of working together for a common goal and strong relationships of mutual trust persevered through it all. I can honestly say that there was no compromise in allowing for relationship building, which is literally a “key” factor in meeting my clients’ housing needs. The connection of man to man and the obligation to each other is the driving force to override all kinds of challenges. The devastation of our second Beit HaMikdash was a result of the breakdown between man to man. The hatred and distance allowed for ruination, and we had to start all over again. It is a lesson which is ingrained in all of us—that the synergy between men must override all hurdles.
After this year’s challenge, I am confident that, when needed, relationship building will continue during intense, pivotal times and in all kinds of environments. Although contact can be maintained after the sale, the relationship is fleeting and time-sensitive but all-important during the intense moments within the transaction. A short-term marriage, if you will, is created whereby the needs are pervasive while working toward the goal of closure. I am now convinced that the energy and enthusiasm will pervade even with the barriers that we have to confront and this has made me even more determined to persevere. Strength, perseverance and obligation to the client and each other must override all barriers to ensure fruition and fiduciary ongoing loyalty with the right foundation of “relationship building.”
As we pass this holiday of light, the yahrzeit of my mom was on the 28th of Kislev, which signifies koach, strength. My mom, Rebbetzin Hirschman along with my dad, Rabbi Harold Hirschman, a”h, held the torch of light for over 40 years as leaders in the community in Union City where the original Yeshiva of Hudson County—now metamorphosed into the thriving Rosenbaum Yeshiva of North Jersey—was located. Rebbetzin Hirschman a”h, was imbued with enthusiasm, light and a positive attitude to all those around her. It is not surprising on the very day of her yahrzeit this year on December 14, the vaccine was administered to give hope and promise for a better world to live in.
As I always include housing market trends to keep our consumers informed, here is a snapshot of real estate indicators. The fall has been busier than usual with buyer activity remaining higher than normal in contrast to other years at this very time. Combined with the strong interest, mortgage rates dropped to new record lows, allowing for more buying power with lower monthly costs. As an example, typical value homes one year ago priced at $422,310 in the Teaneck area now have an increased value of $446,717. The increase of home values reflects the intensity of interest and sales.
And, to sum it up, with the new promise of the vaccine, we are all hoping for the end of a harrowing period of time in our lives. I do try to focus on any positives that have transpired, and now I can add a few more to my list of cutting Bobby’s hair during lockdown, cleaning every closet in the house and becoming a Zoom specialist to the latest, learning how to play chess, which is truly my proudest new venture thus far. I was taught by my very own husband who learned how to play chess not by the janitor (a la “Queen’s Gambit”) but with his friends in RJJ high school. I now play on-line, bonding with my grandson who lives 6,000 miles away in Israel on Chess.com. I do wonder if COVID didn’t happen whether this wonderful opportunity would have occurred. And, maybe, just maybe, I’ll soon be able to visit Israel for the chagim again, playing chess face-to-face with my grandkids—with or without masks on.
And, finally, my long and lasting “building relationships” is of course, my husband, children, family and close friends, but my professional drive to build relationships during intense need to proceed along successfully is the driving force of a successful paradigm of a closed deal. Hoping for a better year with all your hopes and dreams coming true!
Ruby Kaplan is a realtor licensed in both New Jersey and New York. Visit www.rubybobbyhomes.com for more information. The Ruby and Bobby Kaplan team/United RE/ will promote your home with the best of social media and create alerts for your criteria of housing needs. Your Housing Needs Are Our Priority! Ruby can be reached at 201-314-4152 or on her cell at 917-576-4177 or at [email protected]