COVID-19 impacts local real estate agents

2020 has been a difficult year, but one group of workers had a better outcome than many. Real Estate agents are not considered essential employees, and did have to stop working for part of the year. Many local agents in New Braunfels, Texas were wary when it came time to begin workings again.

Agents like Crissy Nelson had just gotten her license when the pandemic shut down the country and it had an unforeseen impact.

“I didn’t have any clients and did not work for the first 90 days of my career.” Nelson said.

With no clients and no listings, Nelson became discouraged. The office slowly opened like everything else, but she still couldn’t work until she had a few clients. Real Estate began to see an uptick when interest rates kept lowering.

Nelson began working in the downtown office frequently and answering the office phones and began to build a network of clients. As this time showings of homes for sale were rare, so her and the other agents had to devise a plan on how to safely show homes.

Agents with REMAX River Cities, started hosting open houses and being able to show clients homes again after they decided everyone entering a home must: sanitize, wear a mask, gloves, and make an appointment and have not been exposed to anybody with COVID-19 symptoms,

While Nelson was able to start her career, agents with years of experience we getting a hold on their contracts that they had while the country was shutdown. Priscilla Navarrette has been a local real estate agent for four years, and she was part of the group that spoke with the city about agents getting back to work.

“Showings came to a halt due to the city not viewing us as essential. The contracts did not stop, people were moving.” Navarrette said.

Jojo Cook, known as the olympic realtor, along with Navarrette got the office back open and contracts finished so agents could get paid again. The process was slower and new but the agents overcame that and have seen a huge boost in the market.

“I guess with the interest rates being so low, we seem to be busy bees. I’ve had three closings withing the last almost two months which is more than what some of us were doing at the end of 2019.” Cook said.

Cook works in New Braunfels, Seguin and San Antonio and says there has been an increase in interest in those areas, but prices have fluctuated.

The price of lumber has been increased by over 100% which has caused home prices to increase by about $16,000 for a single family home. Despite the increase, the pandemic has created a good environment for people wanting to become homeowners.

New Braunfels is a growing city, and the pandemic has pushed it into a new era of growth with several subdivisions being built along HWY 46 and with the addition of Veramendi, a large new community being built across from New Braunfels High School, agents are being kept busy.

With the influx of business, the brokers at REMAX River cities want to make sure their agents remember that the pandemic has left many others in need and not many have gotten back on their feet as easily as the agents did.

The brokers began to give back and make the agents fine those in need in their own community. Many agents chose to donate to food banks, animal shelters, hospitals, and local schools.

“I put us back in place a little.” said Nelson. ” We all got so caught up in having business and it being better than what we could have ever thought, we forgot there were still people out there struggling and without income.”

Agents are looking forward to the holidays and spending time with their loved ones. Many agents have children in the military and were able to bring them home for the first time this year. With this year ending on a good foot, they have high hopes for what 2020 will bring to their businesses.

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