The Interview: Bess Freedman on how resi firms will look post-Covid

Agents have been testing the limits of virtual deal-making

New York /
May.May 07, 2020 07:30 AM

It’s been six weeks since New York’s residential firms went dark after Gov. Andrew Cuomo shut non-essential workplaces to curb Covid-19 deaths.

In that time, agents have tested the limits of virtual showings and endured a steep drop in deals. Now, major firms are planning the brokerage office of the future — well beyond masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.

At Brown Harris Stevens, receptionists will sit behind plexiglass and agents won’t be side-by-side. Instead, work times will be staggered to maintain social distancing. “We’re never going to have a packed office,” Bess Freedman, Brown Harris’ CEO, said in a video conversation with The Real Deal’s E.B. Solomont.

For agents who already took their work on the road, it’s too soon to say how the firm’s need for office space will change, she said. The top priority is agent and client safety, followed by a restarting of an important economic engine.

“People want to get back to work, which I totally understand,” said Freedman, whose firm was one of many that furloughed workers. “There’s an economic issue underlying all this. Sellers need to sell. Buyers want to find properties.”

The ways they sell and buy are destined to change as well. “They may do open houses by appointment,” she said. “Showings are going to be where everyone is social-distancing, everyone is wearing masks and gloves … That is going to have to happen at least through the summer.”


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Rachel Glazer (Credit: BHS)

BHS’ top Downtown agent jumps to Compass

BHS’ top Downtown agent jumps to Compass
What will proptech look like in 2019 and beyond?

What will proptech look like in 2019 and beyond?

What will proptech look like in 2019 and beyond?
The Observation Deck at Hudson Yards (Credit: Adam Pogoff)

Views from 1,100 feet: A tour of Related’s “the edge,” the tallest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere

Views from 1,100 feet: A tour of Related’s “the edge,” the tallest outdoor observation deck in the Western Hemisphere
Cineworld Group CEO Mooky Greidinger and Regal Cinema (Photo via Getty; Wikipedia)

Regal Cinemas scores financial rescue package

Regal Cinemas scores financial rescue package
(iStock)

What doom-and-gloom forecasts miss about the office market

What doom-and-gloom forecasts miss about the office market
Union Square Hospitality Group CEO Danny Meyer and the Union Square Cafe (Photos via Getty; Wikipedia Commons)

Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality halts indoor, outdoor dining

Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality halts indoor, outdoor dining
A recent study that found 1 in 10 Black homeowners returned to renting between 1984 and 2017 (iStock)

Black homeowners twice as likely to lose homes and return to renting: Report

Black homeowners twice as likely to lose homes and return to renting: Report
(iStock)

Ski resorts gear up for tough season in the shadow of pandemic

Ski resorts gear up for tough season in the shadow of pandemic
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...