As an associate broker for RE/MAX Centre REALTORS®, Scott Geller leads a local 4,000-member association, and has influence statewide and nationally. He also heads a successful real estate sales and appraisal businesses.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Geller helped develop a short-term emergency plan, as well as a long-term strategic plan, focusing on social justice and fair housing, as well as advocating and lobbying for the real estate industry to open safely.
Though 2020 was a challenging year for real estate, Geller, named president of the Bucks County Association of REALTORS®, steadfastly guided the company safely and successfully through the pandemic, social unrest, housing shutdowns and the impact on the economy, all with his strategic planning and forward thinking.
In this interview, Geller discusses how his brokerage implemented an emergency plan at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and how real estate professionals should approach this new normal that we live in, among other topics:
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?
It’s a humbling honor to be included with such great industry luminaries and visionaries. I am obviously not in the same league as most of the recipients so I am extremely proud to represent the hardworking, forward thinking, local REALTOR® association presidents and leadership teams who have been an inspiration to me and their members.
You were selected as a Newsmaker within the Inspirations (now Motivators) category which is dedicated to the forward thinkers within our industry. Could you tell us a little bit about the emergency plan you created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how you developed it?
We wanted to do what we could within the confines of the pervasive uncertainty, especially as it pertained to the real estate industry, to give our members stability, tools and the confidence to move forward. Our priorities were to serve as the go-to source for up-to-date information; fight for our members’ rights to practice safely; partner to learn, establish and follow best practices in health, safety, technology, legal and impromptu issues; and continue assessing our financial and organizational strength.
With the assistance of a consultant, our board of directors and previous recent task forces’ input, we developed our emergency strategic plan in coordination with our long term (3-year) plan. As things change, we continue to ask four simple questions: 1. What will we keep doing? 2. What will we improve? 3. What will we start doing? 4. What will we stop doing?
Could you tell us how budget adjusting, program initiation and political advocacy were worked into this plan.
We budgeted for a 5-10% loss of members, yet have had a net gain of over 5%, so our financials are in good shape for this year and going forward. We have maintained a strong political advocacy through our alliance with other area REALTORS® via the Suburban Realtors Alliance. As for my office, we have continued strong numbers in sales volume and agent retention and attraction, growing through the pandemic. We have added several in-house services towards this end such as a showing agent service, social media marketing and an insurance company alliance.
What would your advice be to other real estate professionals about moving forward as our country comes to terms with a new normal?
The only constant is change, said someone far wiser than I. My advice is to embrace change. Be on the leading edge, not the bleeding edge. My other advice to real estate licensees who want to be professionals is read! Start with your standard forms and read them, know them and understand them; these are your primary tools. There’s so much information, and lots of it is good and valuable.
Learn to distinguish between something that can improve you and/or your business and something that is just an attempt to separate you from your money. If the pitch includes “it only takes one extra transaction to pay for it”...ask if you can pay after that extra transaction materializes. My final advice: be safe, be kind, be well and do good.