The Seattle area real estate market is slowing down somewhat amid the COVID-19 outbreak but Windermere is still trying to offer hope and support to those in need. The real estate company Windermere, the largest regional real estate company in the western US, is challenging its brokers and agents during this time to raise money for food banks heavily affected by the coronavirus.
The initiative is called “Neighbors in Need” and will be the primary community service activity replacing their annual service day this year, which is a 35-year company tradition. Each June, the company closes its doors and its 9000 member- team volunteers for local communities and neighborhoods. This year they are fundraising for local food banks and the Windermere Foundation will match every dollar each office raises by up to $250,000. The goal is $500,000 going to local food banks such as Food Lifeline, Second Harvest, and Northwest Harvest, which distributes food hundreds of food banks across the state. So far, the fund has raised more than $210,000 from clients, brokers, and businesses.
Windermere hopes that other companies will follow suit. So far, the Windermere Foundation has raised more than $41 million for local food banks and charities since 1989.
While Windermere is going the opposite direction, the Seattle area real estate market has seen a dip in real estate sales and Seattle area brokers have collectively lost over $1.1 million per day as the health crisis slows the housing market. New listings are dropping off because buyers and sellers are both adopting a “wait and see” approach. Closing deals may also be a bit challenging since people can’t meet in person but online notaries, virtual tours, and Zoom meetings are definitely the new norm.
The Business Journals estimate that the drop in listings could equate to as much is $81 million in lost sale commissions per day for real estate brokers with major areas such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago taking the biggest hit.
However, brokers may actually qualify for unemployment benefits for the first time through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program and the Economic Security Act for independent contractors and self-employed workers.