As I write this newsletter, I think back on how much has changed since February when I hopped on a plane to El Salvador with no reservations whatsoever about travel or global pandemics. I had just started to hear the word “coronavirus” and mostly wrote it off as yet another sensationalist focus of the news cycle, that was likely to disappear just as quickly.
Obviously, I was wrong.
Here we are, over 4 months later, and I’ve accepted that arranging our lives around the realities of COVID is neither temporary nor optional.
Although it hasn’t always been fun, there have been some interesting changes that have happened as a result of COVID that have changed the course of our lives.
First, and most notably, I’m pregnant! This is a pregnancy that I can say with confidence would not have happened if it weren’t for this pandemic. The reason is because Chris and I had already decided a date to start trying, and that date was going to be after a vacation to British Virgin Islands in May of this year. We thought we’d take one last trip as a couple before becoming parents, and then we’d try. In late April, as it became clear that a trip in May to BVI was not happening, we figured, why wait?
Many people have asked me if we were trying or if it was a surprise. Which I find amusing, because the answer is both. We were not not trying, and I was surprised that I got pregnant immediately.
We also spent about 2 months at lake LBJ. Suddenly the benefits of living basically downtown didn’t seem so appealing, and we felt like we were going crazy staring at the four walls of our condo. My aunt and uncle were kind enough to host us at their lake house, and Chris and I learned just how much work we can get done without physically being present in Austin.
Since March, I have not seen my team in person. We have done weekly zoom calls, and several one on one calls each week. And we’ve been able to accomplish a lot and close a lot of transactions for clients despite limited in-person interaction.
I assume that this shift to remote work will continue into the future, not just for my team, but for many companies.
It’s also caused me to realize just how much more I can get done when I’m not driving all over town all the time. Quarantine forced me to begin structuring my days differently, and to plan any in-person meetings strategically. It’s forced the real estate industry to slow down in important ways, which I think is for the best. No more frantic, last minute showings, for example. There’s too much scheduling and too many precautions to consider for all parties for that to be feasible. And I can’t say I miss that frantic pace.
Back in March, I firmly believed we’d be out of the woods on this by July. Yet, here we are. I’ve now adjusted my expectations to say, we’re probably in this for the duration of 2020. So what am I going to do about it?
The one big lesson that this has driven home for me is that I can’t wait for conditions to line up for me before I take action. I think I spent a day or two as shelter in place announcements came down in panic mode before I got serious about making a plan for how to navigate this pandemic, both personally and for my team. For the last four months, I’ve been hyper focused on keeping a daily schedule, keeping team meetings on the calendar each week, managing cash flow, and staying focused on what needed to happen for our team to weather this storm. That’s not to say I haven’t battled some mood swings, morning sickness, despair, disappointment, fear, anxiety and exhaustion. I’ve had my days. Yet I feel like we’ve survived the initial crisis, and now July will be a time to reevaluate business plans for the rest of 2020.
Because one thing I can certainly say is that whatever plans I made in the winter of 2019 are no longer relevant.
If anyone is looking for some support with business planning, I have some awesome resources through a coaching group I’m part of. Just ask!
Launching a new brand: WIRE Austin
I have recently made the name change of my Instagram, previously known as @funkyhomesofaustin to just my name @isabel.affinito.
The decision to drop the Funky Homes of Austin name came when I realized that, over time, the brand that my team and I have built were no longer representative of finding “Funky Homes of Austin.” And frankly, I wasn’t as passionate about it as our central mission.
I am excited to announce that we have rebranded as WIRE Austin. We have created a new account that will be dedicated to my real estate team now newly named @WIRE_Austin.
The term “WIRE” is inspired by the phrase women in real estate. We are passionate about educating women on how to invest in real estate and be empowered by their financial decisions.
To learn more about what we’re about, see http://isabelaffinito.com/wire-austin/
What I’m Reading
There’s nothing like a good crisis to prime me to do some deep self-examination. A good friend of mine recommended this book to me, and I’ve been going through it for the last several weeks. I am no stranger to shelf-helpery type books and indulge myself frequently in what Mastin Kipp calls “spiritual entertainment”, ie reading self-help books to feel like you’re getting somewhere. What I find valuable about this book is that it is structured by day, so you are guided through 40 days of daily readings and journal reflections, so I’m less tempted to just listen to a bunch of ra-ra platitudes without doing anything about them. For anyone feeling stuck, unsure of your purpose, unfulfilled or frustrated, I’d recommend giving this one a shot.
5628 Emma Thompson Way | Sasha and Trey
Congrats to Sasha and Trey who just sold their home in Bradshaw Crossing! It was a very competitive situation with a strong offer above asking price at $240,000 after receiving over 20 offers. Sasha and Trey, it was so fun to reconnect with you after all these years, and get to work together on the sale of your home. Thank you for being amazing clients.
Here’s a quick clip of Sasha and Trey sharing their experience about selling their home in today’s market.
Leah and Ian Scofield
Leah and Ian were originally referred to us by Jennica Lynn, Realtor Magazine’s 30 Under 30. They made a move from down to Austin from Washington state. Leah and Ian built a home from scratch from Drees Homes at Liberty Hill. We are delighted to be able to work from them and ultimately got to closing in June. Congrats Leah and Ian on your new home!
Juan and Prisca Villa
We were delighted to help Juan and Prisca get to closing in June. They were referred to us by our clients Leah and Ian.
Juan and Prisca were under contract during the heat of COVID-19 when the future was uncertain. While planning to make a cross country move, they were ultimately able to navigate their journey with persistence and patience.
At the end of the day, they were successfully able to move down to Austin and we are happy to have them here!
Rick and Amy
In July, we had the pleasure of doing our third closing with Rick and Amy. Rick and Amy were some of my first clients in Austin and I helped them buy a home in Leander several years ago. They sold that home this year and upgraded to a new home in Dripping Springs which was completed this summer. One of my favorite things about this business is the relationships I get to form with clients, some of whom I have the pleasure of working with again and again. Thank you, Rick and Amy, for being amazing clients, constant supporters of our business and always such a pleasure to work with.
Anne and MD Doctor
Congrats Anne and MD for closing on their home. They were our previous clients and we had the pleasure of helping them buy again after their move back to Austin from California. We had 3 offers submitted, one that went under contract, one terminated, and the third was the charm.
In this marketplace for buyers, it definitely pays to be persistent!
To learn more about our current marketplace for buyers, check out this video: https://www.instagram.com/p/CDNOnylFYFP/
Corrie is a friend of mine from they gym and was a first-time homebuyer. She and Morgan toured a total of six properties and submitted an offer for the second home they toured.
Even though it was a competitive multiple offer situation, Corrie won out after including a love letter along with a strong offer. If you want to know how to win in multiple offers as a buyer right now, ask Morgan. She’s a pro. Corrie is excited to make the home her own and we’re honored to have helped her in this first home purchase.
Morgan worked with Urban ATX to get these gorgeous homes to closing in June and July.
We also have a list of all Urban ATX properties, including those still under construction, now available.
Additionally, Urban ATX is now building custom homes in Central Austin for buyers who would like to design their own home. If you’d like to see what Urban ATX has coming up for sale, or learn more about custom homes, just reply to this email.