First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Robert Aumann: We are doing good. Joy is 23 weeks pregnant, so we are very excited to be bringing a child into the world amidst all the chaos.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded LuxurySoCalRealty.
Robert Aumann: Joy and I both began our career and got licensed during the same period in 2011. We both worked at Prudential California Realty, now Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. Joy was in the Rancho Santa Fe office, and I was based in the La Jolla office. We were both doing extremely well for agents in their first year in the business. Joy and I met for the first time at a listing I had in La Jolla. Joy was showing it to a client she had from Chicago. Unfortunately, her client didn’t buy my listing, but it did initiate us getting together for coffee to discuss our respective businesses.
The way in which we were procuring our clients was completely different. Joy was acquiring them solely online, and I was generating them solely from open houses and floor time. We decided we could be a very effective team. We partnered up in the beginning, strictly in a business partnership.
We realized that our skill sets complemented each other and has created a synergistic effect.
How does LuxurySoCalRealty innovate?
Robert Aumann: We have the number 1 luxury real estate website in San Diego on Google. Doing an online search is the first thing most consumers do when contemplating buying real estate. Joy has worked extremely hard and has done all of the work on her own.
We are constantly improving our search presence and systems to create a better user experience for our potential clients.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Robert Aumann: When the shelter in place first hit in March, we immediately lost 4 of the 7 escrows we had opened. We had a 7 million dollar listing with a very famous professional athlete who immediately wanted an escrow extension because of concerns about what the virus would do to the real estate market. Our initial feeling was that this would have a negative effect on the market, and we were planning accordingly.
Once the dust settled, we realized that the exact opposite began to unfold. People are more concerned about their living space than ever before. Our wealthy clients had no trips to Europe, recreation, and events to spend money on. The property was the most viable expense to splurge on.
The home transformed into not just a home but an office, school, health club, and a sense of safety and security.
People that had always wanted to live in San Diego now had the opportunity to do so because they were now working from home and could virtually live anywhere.
People were willing to do whatever it took to have the right living space for them and their families.
With no open houses allowed, we found the searching for real estate online spiked even higher than ever before.
We were perfectly positioned with our online business plan to capitalize on this increased traffic.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Robert Aumann: We immediately cut any expense that we could. We had to scale back on the number of team members that we had. We leaned out to plan and operate our systems as efficiently as possible.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and LuxurySoCalRealty in the future?
Robert Aumann: Try to make it a point to workout first thing in the morning. That is crucial for stress relief. It helps create the energy, physical, and mental toughness needed in the business.
We are at the 10-year mark in our business. We feel we are at that period that our business can really begin to scale. We have never had more referral business, and we believe this happens only after consistently working in the business for a significant period. It’s one aspect of the business that can’t be manufactured.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Robert Aumann: With over 17,000 agents fighting over deals, the business is extremely competitive. The 80/20 rule is in effect. Where 20 percent of the agents complete 80 percent of the transactions.
We are very nimble and can pivot accordingly with changes in the industry and market. If you aren’t able to innovate quickly, you will not be able to sustain yourself in this industry.
Your final thoughts?
Robert Aumann: Real estate is a lifestyle business where you need to be on at all ti. It can’t be worked like a 9-5 job. We are extremely passionate about it, and that helps charge us up every day to push ourselves to continuously improve each day
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