SPOTLIGHT ON: Betsy Estrella-Mejia
Mary Prenon | May 2020
Kicking COVID to the Curb
While the Coronavirus continues to wreak havoc on people’s lives and careers, one New City agent not only managed to overcome the virus herself, but actually received offers on two homes, sight unseen, during these incredibly challenging times!
Some may consider Betsy Estrella-Mejia a real estate “newbie,” earning her license just three years ago, but the Christie’s International Realty agent credits her ultra-positive attitude with helping her to get well and make sales in a climate that has most Realtors playing the “waiting game.”
“My husband always tells me I’m overly positive,” she admitted. “I guess I’m one of those people who just keep going. Of course, we all have those days that seem like a breakdown, but I believe we need the breakdown to have a breakthrough.”
The Stony Point mother of two didn’t worry when her husband, a lab technician, came home one day complaining of a headache. He had no fever or sinus infection, and just one day of chills. By the third day he was fine. A few days later, Estrella-Mejia developed a fever that quickly shot up to 104. “Then came the aches and pains, so I locked myself up in a room and called a neighbor to drop off some food for my kids,” she said.
After testing positive for COVID-19, she continued to self-quarantine, while still spending a few minutes a day to stay in touch with clients via e-mail and texts. Her husband was also later instructed to stay home, as someone with whom he worked tested positive for the virus. “The biggest thing was the fever and the fatigue” she recalled. “It also came to a point where it was hard to speak because breathing was so difficult.”
Estrella-Mejia survived on tea and soup, while taking 1,000 MG of Tylenol every four hours for five days in a row. At one point, her husband called 911 when her oxygen levels dipped too low. “Rather than take me to the hospital, they just gave me oxygen at home,” she explained. She also added warm baths with peppermint oil, which helped with her breathing.
After two weeks, she started to feel better and was able to start breathing exercises. She also picked up contact with her clients. Following almost four weeks, she was fully recovered and managed to secure six buyer contracts during the month of March. Two of her buyers made offers on homes without even physically seeing them!
“First, they drove by to take a look at the outside,” she explained. “Then we asked the sellers to conduct the virtual tours themselves, showing every detail inside the homes.” Home inspections were also completed virtually using the phone app “What’s App,” which allowed her and the buyers to view the inspection live in real time.
When both buyers made offers, Estrella-Mejia was surprised, but not shocked. “It all depends on their motivation and expectations,” she said. One buyer is a contractor purchasing a home needing some TLC, and the other is someone who is simply ready to purchase now. Both homes are currently under contract and should be closing in the near future. “If you have the right team to work with, you can still get things closed,” she added.
These days Estrella-Mejia continues to work with other potential buyers, relying on virtual tours and inspections. Having corresponded with many relocation clients, she is no stranger to buyers who don’t actually see the home until the closing date. Even prior to the pandemic, she always made it a point to meet new clients virtually via teleconference to get to know them.
Looking back to 2017, it was a local Realtor who convinced her to get into real estate. “I was a happy client of a Realtor and just decided that this was something I wanted to do,” she recalled. “On my very first day, I made two appointments!” Starting part-time in the industry, Estrella-Mejia switched to full time in just three months. In her first six months, she sold 10 properties, followed by 24 the next year, and 21 in 2019. Estrella-Mejia spent almost her entire time with Keller Williams before joining Christie’s in December.
Prior to real estate, she worked with several financial institutions in Manhattan. “This was really helpful to me because now I know the ins and outs of the loan process, so I can educate my clients and find the best approach for them,” she said. Estrella-Mejia holds a Business Management degree from Herbert Lehman College in the Bronx, including a double major in Finance and Human Resources and a minor in Computer Applications.
Last year, she also got involved with HGAR’s newly revamped Young Professionals Network (YPN) and has attended both live and virtual happy hours. “I find it very helpful for people who are new to the business,” she said. “It can provide a lot of guidance.” She also volunteers with the Falling Angels Sickle Cell Foundation in Garnerville.
In addition to keeping on top of the real estate market, Estrella-Mejia is home-schooling her young children, aged four and six. She’s also back to her morning routine of jogging, shortly after rising at 5:00 a.m. “My favorite pastime, of course, is spending time with my family. We love to walk and hike,” she said.
Having survived one of the worst pandemics in our history, Estrella-Mejia refuses to consider herself as a victim. “You can’t focus on everything that’s difficult because if you do, that’s what you’ll attract. You have to focus on the good things,” she said. “My philosophy is that I kicked COVID out and I can sell anything now!”