Howard W. “Hoby” Hanna, IV, President of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, recently appeared as a guest on the Smart Leaders podcast, hosted by Smart Business Network. During the podcast, Hoby spoke about the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, providing an overview of its impact on Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. He also discussed his predictions for the coming weeks and months for the company and real estate industry overall.
Impact On Offices
One topic Hoby spoke about during the podcast was how Howard Hanna has adjusted to working from home. Prior to the pandemic, Howard Hanna’s corporate staff and agents alike conducted much of their work in Howard Hanna offices. Adjustments were therefore needed to comply with stay-at-home orders.
Fortunately, the company’s existing groundwork and technology stack made this adjustment possible. Hoby also credited the company’s years of technological investments for a fast adjustment. Within one week, staff and agents were working remotely, ensuring the company was prepared to comply with stay-at-home orders.
Support For Agents
After ensuring all team members could begin working remotely, Howard Hanna took action to provide for its agents, according to Hoby. With 10,000 real estate agents working in 10 states, each with its own rules, a single solution wouldn’t necessarily benefit every agent to the same degree.
To help ensure each agent had the information needed for their state, Howard Hanna worked with legal experts to research and communicate about agents’ state-based resources and options as contractors.
Howard Hanna also extended the deadline for the company’s signature Income Advantage program. This program allows Howard Hanna agents to take out an advance against their future commissions. While the program normally closes in March, it remained open another month, allowing agents to determine if the additional paycheck was needed for the time being.
Looking To The Future
With the initial response to COVID-19 complete, Hoby has begun looking to the future, evaluating the industry and determining the best next steps for agents, staff, buyers, and sellers alike.
Currently, he is optimistic, in part because closings and showings were not as negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as expected. As a result, he expects to see buyer demand in particular remain strong in the coming weeks:
“There’s obviously people looking. I think interest rates have stayed low, and I think that’s going to fuel a degree of the housing demand. So all those indicators today, I think, are pretty strong.”
Now, even as states begin to allow in-person showings, the digital adjustments made earlier this year are still being utilized, including the use of virtual tours, according to Hoby.
Finally, during his appearance, Hoby discussed how Howard Hanna’s existing programs can make real estate transactions easier for buyers and sellers. For example, the Buy Before You Sell program can be beneficial for those with concerns about showing their current home, and the 100% Money Back Guarantee program can give buyers confidence in their purchase and investment.