RISMedia's Real Estate Magazine

JAN 2018

Real Estate magazine is the industry's leading source for real estate news and information since 1980. Published monthly by RISMedia, Real Estate magazine offers timely and relevant real estate news to the industry's top brokers and agents.

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16 January 2018 RISMedia's REAL ESTATE {The NAR Power Broker Roundtable} Christina Pappas: Around the world, 2017 was an extraordinary year in terms of natural disasters. Fires, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes inundated numerous areas, making one thing clear: Whether we're testing disaster protocols long in place, or newly struggling to create procedures to help bring order out of chaos, tragedies like these present an alarming call to action. How prepared are you and your company to effectively face catastrophe? Rick, what protocols do you have in place, and what advice would you offer? Rick Haase: First, even if you have procedures in place, it isn't until you experience a substantial threat that you find out how protected you really are. The Katrina disaster became a mental model for me. Once we dug our way out of that, we seriously scru- tinized every area of our business, and we came up with questions we needed to answer: Do we have a central number in place where agents and employees—some of whom suf- fered personal loss—can get emer- gency information? Can we get into our accounting system so that payroll is not disrupted when our people need it most? Today, our operations are totally portable and accessible. Even if an office or two are nine feet underwater, we can operate from a remote area, get those paychecks out, and keep backup procedures running. Marnie Goldschlag: Having recently been through the devastating fires in Santa Rosa, I can certainly relate to that. My partner and I called every agent to determine how they were and what they needed before having them call everyone on their client lists. As it turned out, 12 of our clients lost their homes—and our people were out there with them, helping to deal with insurance agents and sifting through the ashes for any salvageable possessions. This was a test of community, as well as a chance to put procedures in place that had not occurred to us before. Rei Mesa: Being in Florida, which has a definitive hurricane season, we have some of the strongest building codes in the nation—but we also have some of the most extensive disaster protocols, which we review and update every year. With hurricanes, we generally have some advance notice. We have time, for example, to remove all our yard signs so that they're not being hurled around in hundred-mile-an- hour winds. But when it's all over, we know recovery is primary, and we have protocols in place to manage that. As soon as the all-clears are issued, we're reaching out to agents, clients and the REALTOR® commu- nity to help ensure that business can get up and running with as few impediments as possible. Michael Saunders: The keys, I think, are communication and education. We keep extensive manuals in every office, and we're developing prepara- tion guides and emergency checklists for the 20,000 names or so that are in our database. We keep a hurricane box in every office—radios with extra batteries, water, flashlights, and so on. Agents get out and put up storm windows on homes they know are vacant—and we close our offices in plenty of time for our people to get home and prepare. We also pay all our people in advance so that they can pay their bills and manage their lives even if they need to evacuate. CP: So contingency plans are the first step no matter where you live and work, followed closely by keeping the lines of communication open and having recovery plans in place. RM: And everyone needs to know in advance who's in charge, how things will get done, and where and how to stay in touch. MS: We're now in the process of installing a satellite so that we can bypass traditional power sources. RH: Insurance, communication, viable systems and equipment—it's all criti- cal in a crisis. Take the opportunity now to plan, organize and implement. RE 8For an expanded version of this article and other NAR Power Broker Roundtable topics, please visit www.rismedia.com. Disaster Protocol: Is Your Company Prepared for the Worst? MODERATOR: Christina Pappas District Sales Manager, The Keyes Company, Miami, Fla.; Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations, NAR PARTICIPANTS: Rick Haase President, Latter & Blum, Inc., REALTORS®, New Orleans, La. Marnie Goldschlag Co-Owner, NextHome Wine Country Premier, Santa Rosa, Calif. Rei Mesa CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty, Miami, Fla. Michael Saunders CEO, Michael Saunders & Company, Sarasota, Fla. The Power Broker Roundtable is brought to you by the National Association of REALTORS® and Christina Pappas, NAR's Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations. Watch for this column each month, where we address broker issues, concerns and milestones.

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