Kathryn Redican, recently promoted to chief operating officer for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices (BHHS) New England, New York and Westchester Properties, understood the importance of supporting her team during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Under her guidance, they rolled out more tools and campaigns than ever before, including adding the ability to make offers on a property directly from the website, creating training materials on virtual open houses and even coming up with a new designation: Virtual Specialist.
Here, Redican discusses how she approached the urban-to-suburbs migration head-on and the quick response her brokerage had in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, among other things:
RISMedia’s Real Estate Newsmakers honors were created to recognize the people who are raising the standards of professionalism in the real estate industry. What does it mean to you to be named among this year’s honorees?
Kathryn Redican: I’m absolutely honored to be named a Newsmaker—and in tandem with some of the most iconic names in real estate.
You were selected as a Newsmaker within the Futurists category, which is dedicated to the forward thinkers within our industry. Could you tell us a little bit about the tech solutions you implemented at your company when the pandemic hit?
KR: Our company was well-positioned when it came to tech. Our teams have spent the last three years focused on automation, as well as centralizing our tools within the palm of the agent’s hand. As many of our tools are proprietary to BHHS New England, New York and Westchester Properties, we’ve been able to layer in timely changes to our tech to augment lead generation and help our agents with listing and self-promotion For example, make an offer from our website, text-able listing alerts, auto-generated flyers for open houses, and personalized social graphics and videos sent automatically to the listing agent—to name a few.
At the company level, we were also out in front of the urban-to-suburbs migration as it related to web content, keyword searches and digital campaigns. As a result, we saw an early uptick in calls directly to our offices from those campaigns. At one point, we were running five slightly different campaigns to New Yorkers alone, depending on the various buyer trends we were seeing coming into Connecticut, Rhode Island and Westchester County.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you came up with a new designation at your company: Virtual Specialist. Could you explain how you came up with that role and what it entails?
KR: Our "Selling Virtually" marketing package and training modules were paramount in promoting our company’s capabilities while simultaneously walking agents through the necessary steps to perform a digital transaction from pitch to close. We transitioned the program into a designation as we saw the demand from buyers and sellers who wanted to work with an agent who could accommodate their varying levels of comfortability when it came to in-person contact. With the designation searchable on our website, our Virtual Specialists have received additional leads from customers who are looking to connect with these expert agents.
What would your advice be to other real estate professionals about moving forward as our country begins to reopen and the pandemic slowly ends?
KR: I hope our sales professionals can find some time to recharge as they have been working tirelessly for a year straight. Regarding trends that will continue from COVID, I think video and virtual will be preferred as “first showings” for many first-time homebuyers and something all agents should add to their suite when marketing listings.