When we were planning this newsletter, I thought I would write about current market conditions. But, as you know, the only thing we can be certain about right now is uncertainty. (Don’t worry, I promise this column won’t be all doom and gloom.)
Here’s what we know right now:
- Our infection curve is about 21 days behind the state of California, where real estate agents have experienced a 40-50 percent decline in sales. Washington is experiencing similar declines.
- Usually, investors turn to real estate when the market contracts. The current social distancing rules throughout the country make that difficult.
- An inability to do inspections, and our own attitudes toward home buying, make sight-unseen purchases less likely.
- As businesses throughout the state struggle, smaller organizations will be affected more quickly and more deeply than larger organizations — but smaller organizations also have the ability to be more nimble.
However, the situation isn’t all bleak. I have been working in this industry for a long time, and I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that there is always a way to make a living in this industry if you are adaptive and willing to change.
Right now, the situation is frustrating because we did not plan for this. It seems to be out of our control, and that can lead to a defeatist attitude.
The antidote is to focus on the things within your control. People who can extricate themselves from the cycle of panic and doubt will be the ones who survive this crisis with their businesses intact. It’s a massive challenge, but it is one that comes with an opportunity.
That’s how Fidelity National Title is looking at this. We had to send 75 percent of our employees up for home offices in less than 72 hours. Was it tough? Yes. But it was also an opportunity for us to change and adapt to your needs. We will learn new skills through this process, too.
The other thing I am certain of is our company’s stability. The Fidelity organization has weathered more than 150 years of American history, including the Civil War, both world wars, the Great Depression, the Great Recession, and more. We are here to stay, and we will do everything we can to help you get through this crisis.
Now, more than ever, we are here to help you. Our staff is available and working remotely, our tools are available whenever you need them, and our entire organization remains focused on your success. We will get through this together.
Phil Archer is vice president - Treasure Valley manager at Fidelity National Title.