As a real estate agent, you’re in the middle of the action. Whether it’s a prospect asking where they can find a good cappuccino or a past client wondering if you know a reputable company to come fix their garage door, chances are, you’ll be able to point them in the right direction. But what can you do when your contacts come to you with a problem that can’t be fixed with a trip to the local coffee house or a repair recommendation? In a recent interview, California real estate agent Timothy Toye shared what the days and weeks following one of the worst forest fires in California’s history were like, as well as how his role in real estate shifted to meet his community’s needs.
September 12, 2015 started as a normal day for Toye, but shifted in a moment. “I had an appointment at 2:30 to meet with a seller of mine,” Toye explained. “At 2:00, the seller called and said, ‘Don’t come over. We’re getting evacuated.'”
Before long, Toye’s office was ordered to evacuate, too. Luckily, he stored most of his data in the cloud, so all he had to do was pack up the computers and leave. Toye stressed that when deciding what to bring with you, “It depends on how urgent it is; when you’re asked to evacuate, it’s obviously urgent. The main thing is to preserve human life. Everything else comes second from that.”
Toye was evacuated for about two weeks and he noticed that “everybody immediately had a shared concern…’What’s happening to the area? What’s happening to my house, your house, our neighbor’s houses?'” No one knew whether or not their home or business still existed. “There was a lot of hysteria and rumors.
“Just coming back in and passing on whatever information and helping people…at that point it was not about the business anymore,” Toye explained. “It was more about just helping people on a very human level to deal with a dramatic natural event that had all kinds of difficult financial and emotional and personal consequences for people. So that was kind of the beginning of it.”
Toye made it his mission to get involved and let people know “what areas were hit and which weren’t,” and passed along other important information to those who were still evacuated, such as when essential services like electricity were restored. People who lost their homes were able to start working with their insurance companies and move forward.
When dealing with disaster, you must “be adaptable…it was a moment just to respond…be smart, be intelligent, be compassionate.” As a real estate agent, you should “participate with your community because when you’re in need, you want a community around you. Be there for people.”
While we hope your community is never faced with disaster, it never hurts to be prepared. Help your clients be ready to hunker down or evacuate at a moment’s notice by sharing the Emergency Preparedness Checklist with your clients. Just add your contact information and share it with your friends, family, contacts, and community.
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