Webinar: ONE Sotheby’s International Realty’s Daniel De La Vega On Real Estate Industry In The Age Of COVID-19

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The Haute Residence live webinar sessions “Haute Leaders Game Changers” began today, with Haute Living’s Kamal Hotchandani and Seth Semilof interviewing Daniel de la Vega, President of ONE Sotheby’s International Realty on Zoom, reaching hundreds of listeners from coast to coast. De la Vega is in charge of ONE Sotheby’s locations in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, Brevard, and Indian River counties in Florida, with 17 offices and over 850 associates that generate annual sales in excess of $2.5 billion.

Hotchandani and Semilof welcomed and thanked de la Vega for being the first of what will be a continuous string of insightful interviews with real estate industry leaders on the current market.

“You have been my friends for many years. I’m honored to be the first guest in this series that you are doing with great speakers,” said de la Vega.

What the full video in the link below

They spoke about the current real estate market in the South Florida area during current times, how it has seen the effects of COVID-19 and more.

The real estate world of Miami abuzz with excitement last week as the announcement was made that David Beckham purchased a penthouse at One Thousand Museum by Zaha Hadid Architects, handled by de la Vega himself. Semilof asked de la Vega on how it took place and its significance.

“It was a very exciting sale for us, and for the market,” he said. “In this very difficult time, it’s very positive. Representing developments like One Thousand Museum and David Beckham is a pleasure. The building has just come out amazing and I think it’s beyond people’s expectations. Everybody has been in awe after they walk in and see the finishes, common areas, pools and amenities. We have two other buyers looking to write up contracts.”

The interview continued in a Q&A format that included questions sent in by live viewers.

Daniel de la Vega headshot Black&white

Daniel de la Vega

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Daniel de la Vega

What are you telling your agents in today’s market on how to be successful in today’s environment?

Always think outside the box. Our virtual sales meetings, coaching, power sessions where we roll out new tools. Stay positive. I encourage our agents to learn new tools, get more knowledge, work on your CRM systems; read a new book. This is the time to take that step back and learn something new. We will look back in 30 days and say “I wish I could have read that book, or sent that note. Keep up the positivity and the learning process.

Have you been doing virtual reality tours?

Yes, we are doing a lot of virtual showings, using 3D visuals of properties; showing and closing properties on Facetime. Things are very robust. We closed $800 million in the first quarter. The 2nd quarter may be slower, but we’re trying to average. I’m telling our agents to look for a very strong 3rd and 4th quarter. If you’re down 20% at the end of the year, you’ll have had a good year.

Everybody is looking for different things. We are handling things virtually, and things are happening very seamlessly. The participation from our agents has been remarkable. Melbourne, FL is a bit farther up for me to get to, so to be able to connect with our agents with technology to its highest point is very exciting.

We have invested millions of dollars in technologies that we are now using. As our agents use these tools, it gives us ROI on the investments we’ve made. We are trying to build technology that enhances real estate agents. The fundamentals of our business are relationships.

Have you noticed a lot of New Yorkers inquiring about real estate in Florida?

There’s a lot of New Yorkers renting and calling. A lot of our demand has come from New York and I expect it to continue. If you’re in Chicago or Manhattan, you want to get out and breathe fresh air. As people see that they are spending quarantine in a 1,000 square foot home and look at a property online in South Florida of 5,000 square feet, they’ll consider that. The amount of pent-up demand for real estate in South Florida will be big. And then there are the tax incentives. I think we will see a second Great Migration because of the pandemic.

Can you comment on how properties are appraising in the current market?

Prices haven’t necessarily gone down too much. New listings are down. I don’t think prices will go down drastically because we’re not in a debt crisis like in 2008. The biggest issue right now is job losses. The majority of those are furloughs. If we’re socially responsible, in 60 days those jobs will be back. Deals will be closed once again.

You are strong on social media. What do you recommend to your agents?

We have two main themes on social media: support our agents and our community. For example, one of our agents in the Fort Lauderdale office is giving food to shelters and people in need. We’re supporting her to buy meals.

If this is a recession, it will be the shortest one because we are all in this together. Working as a unit will get us through this. When we all follow this uniformity, we will get through it quicker.

We have our foot on the gas in marketing. We’re pushing out through social media. Focus on the sales that are happening.

Find the opportunity, listen and it’s always important to be communicative. Find out what kind of investment your client is looking to make. Be a listener, learn, and be at the forefront of what’s going on in your community. Clients will find value in you if you become a source of knowledge.

A question submitted by Haute Residence member Elena Bluntzer: Are developers lowering their prices recently?

Developers have not come off their pricing, but prices have gone down the last two years. In some markets there is more supply than others. If you want something right now, you have to pay for it. I’m not seeing a drastic price reduction in real estate. The price point that gets hit the most is the $1-5 million range.

Have you seen any troubles with loan closings due to new bank processes within the past two weeks?

Yes. The capital markets, in general, have not shut down, but unless the property is solid, and income in place that has been proven in the last 45 days, it’s hard to get financing. It’s not as easy as before, primarily because banks are working on their own balance sheets. They have been working tirelessly on getting out the Small Business Administration (SBA) programs.

Will there be a new era in residential sales after COVID-19?

Yes. The adoption rate is changing the way we see real estate from all points of view. What will not change is the relationship component of our business.

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