What is the name of your business?
Nolan Rivers – Expert Real Estate Guide
Tell us about your business pre-COVID-19.
As a commercial and residential Realtor, everyday, I have to wake up and find a way to uncover and create opportunities to make my business work.
It is a constant test of self-motivation, discipline, and being open to change. All of this can become quite overwhelming in a competitive commission-based business; I like to take the approach of doing at least one thing everyday to make my business better.
My regular business activity involves a lot of face to face interaction with my clients and prospects. Being a sole proprietor and one man show, getting out and engaging with the community is an essential part of my routine..
Tell us about the impact COVID-19 had on your business.
Despite being deemed an essential service, the way we have had to do things as realtors has certainly been modified.
Communication over the phone, email, and video has always played a part in how I interact, but restricting the more humanizing in-person interaction is challenging. I think we have all experienced certain messaging getting misinterpreted when you are not sitting in front of someone, looking eye-to-eye. There is an innate chemical reaction of energy that is missing.
Purchasing or selling a property for most people is the largest transaction that they are likely to be involved in and a highly emotional endeavor. It is a big commitment that they need to feel good about. When there is uncertainty about one’s job status or the health of loved ones, big decisions like buying or selling a home can get put on hold.
With COVID19, everyone seems to have their own comfort level of what is acceptable to them. As a professional in real estate, not health care, I can only take advice from our government bodies and best practices suggestions from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Part of this is that open houses are not permitted at this time.
With people trying to “Stay Home” as best they can, there is obvious hesitation for buyers to visit properties or sellers to let potential buyers into their properties. Extra precautions have to be taken with people’s “space”. This has certainly attributed to a stall in the Squamish real estate market.
From a commercial real estate perspective, business are struggling to pay rent as many are not open or experiencing less revenue. This is also hard on landlords with bills to pay too.
Do you think your business will make it through this? How long can you hold on for?
I have confidence to that I can adapt my business through these times. It is a certainly a challenging time, but I believe it will lead to new opportunities moving forward.
I believe we will see consumer confidence rise again soon and when it does, many people will look to Squamish a place they want be. The concept and value of space in quarantine is being challenged and I project it will make our community a more attractive destination to live and work.
What was the hardest part of temporarily closing your business? OR, if you managed to remain open, what has been the hardest part so far, for your business?
As a social person in a social career, not being able to see clients, fellow realtors and friends has been a significant adjustment. With no set hours, my business does not close. Some might say I have to be “on” all the time, but my perspective is that all I have to be is my authentic self.
I am not less busy than before COVID-19 as there is always things to be working on! If anything, it has provided the opportunity to step back a bit to reevaluate, strategize, and plan.
How has COVID-19 affected you personally?
Well… my trip to Mexico got cancelled, but that is probably not what this question is insinuating!
COVID-19 has affected us all in some way.
The biggest direct impact on my life is that my wife is a health care worker. She is working long, hard, and intense hours. In the infancy of the outbreak, none of us knew all of risks and we still do not. When the health of your family and loved ones is at risk that leaves a big impact on your values.
How has your business innovated or pivoted to during this time?
My business had not had to make any significant changes at this time. Virtual tours and video technology platforms have always been part of my business. These tools are helpful in socially distant world. When entering homes, gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers are now commonplace
Do you have any tips that you can share that could help other Squamish businesses with the focus of keeping their staff and customers safe while delivering their products or services?
Update your website and social media platforms to let people know what your policies are so they can look ahead of time.
How can the community of Squamish support you and your business as we move through this unprecedented time?
The Chamber has always done a good job promoting why it is beneficial to shop local. Keep that messaging up!
Moving forward, I think we will see a bit of a shift in values to people willing to buy local and invest more in their neighbours and communities.
The Squamish Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the Squamish community by actively supporting business, economic growth and diversification. The Chamber takes a leadership role in advocating for the interest of Squamish business and provides member services such as networking and educational events, policy positions and partnerships with other organizations.