Real Estate CEOs are Scaling Back on Physical Offices in Light of COVID-19

by / ⠀Career Advice / August 3, 2020
laptop on desk with greenery

There have always been real estate agents who choose to work from home and meet clients at restaurants or coffee shops. Likewise, agents who work for big companies sometimes choose to meet with clients outside of the office. What purpose, then, does an office serve but to be a repository for paperwork? 

Real estate agents are realizing they don’t need an office

In some professions, working out of an office is unavoidable. However, it’s hard to believe that anyone would enjoy commuting to an office every day for years on end when it’s not actually necessary. That’s essentially what the world is starting to recognize – that many businesses can operate efficiently with a remote team and no physical office. Real estate is no exception.

Not only can real estate businesses operate without a physical office, but thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, they don’t have a choice. Many states have shut down non-essential businesses and have forced real estate companies to close their offices. Many agents are relieved that they can work from home and don’t need to commute to the office anymore.

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, real estate agents and company CEOs are finding out how easy it is to have a career in estate without an office. Agents are utilizing video conferencing technology to interact with clients face-to-face and even perform virtual showings. Some agents have set up elaborate camera systems to capture a 360-degree view of their properties that potential buyers can access on a website.

The coronavirus crisis has changed the real estate landscape

The coronavirus has caused real estate agents to change the way they do business in many ways. In addition to virtual meetings and showings, agents are sprucing up their websites and finding creative ways to advertise completely online. 

Landlords have also been severely affected by the coronavirus crisis. Since physical distancing is now required, many landlords have launched online rent payment portals for tenants who would otherwise mail or bring a check to their office.

Although the coronavirus was the catalyst for real estate agents to embrace technology for virtual showings and meetings, it’s likely a permanent change – at least in part. People have already gotten used to the convenience of not having to leave their home for much of anything.

As potential buyers get used to conducting nearly all business online, real estate agents will have to continue using remote technology for clients who expect that convenience going forward.

Not all real estate agents will be on board with changes

The old saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is applicable to any major change in any major industry. In real estate, there will always be some agents who won’t embrace changes to the way things are done. Even when those changes offer convenience, some people are set in their ways and don’t want to change.

The agents who don’t want to board the technology train will inevitably be left behind in a post-pandemic world. While nothing is absolute, there will be an overwhelming amount of people who won’t travel when they can use video conferencing from the comfort of their own home.

Running a virtual office will save big bucks

The good news is that running a real estate business is cheaper when you have a team working remotely. Depending on where your business is located, you could save tens of thousands of dollars each month on office space costs like rent, heating, cooling, and electricity in general. 

To rent an office in New York, for example, you’ll pay about $85 per square foot. According to calculations, a 500 square foot office in New York would cost $42,500 per month. Imagine saving $510,000 per year at that rate? Just by working from home? 

Even if you save just a fraction of that amount, you’re still saving money that can go straight into your pocket.

The remote real estate team is here to stay

Even though the coronavirus pandemic will be over at some point, the remote real estate agent is here to stay. Businesses are always looking for ways to save money, and the savings that come in the absence of renting office space are too good to ignore.

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.