GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: When Life Throws You Lemons

Richard Haggerty | March 2020

At the beginning of last week, the week of March 9th, I realized that the COVID 19 virus was going to have a significant impact in our area. I did not anticipate that by Friday of that same week the HGAR leadership would make the difficult but prudent decision to cancel all in-person classes and meetings for the foreseeable future. Nor did I anticipate that just two days later all of the New York City and suburban schools would suspend all classes and restaurants and bars would be closed throughout the tri-state region.

These are certainly challenging times and we need to come together as communities. We need to stay informed and focus on reliable sites like www.cdc.gov for accurate information on coronavirus, and not rely on social media. I wonder if we would be experiencing the panic buying and hoarding that is currently happening if folks would stop posting pictures of empty store shelves on social media!

The most common question I am hearing is, what’s next? I think one of the challenges we are all confronted with is that the sands are constantly shifting with the COVID-19 virus, and until we find some more stable ground it’s difficult to answer that question with any surety. While the path forward may contain many unknowns, there are things we do know. We know the US economy was on strong footing prior to the onslaught of the COVID-19 virus, and we know that interest rates continue to be at all-time lows. I believe that once we find solid footing, we’ll see a recovery, but the period of uncertainly will continue for a while.

At HGAR, we have cancelled all in person education classes, events, and in-person committee meetings for the foreseeable future, and we are conducting meetings via zoom and teleconferencing. We have also made the difficult decision to close all three HGAR office locations until March 31st. We are still open for business, via remote forms of communication. Our Member Success Team (operating from remote locations) is fully operational to assist our members with member resources, the Multiple Listing Service and accounting questions.

Another major initiative that is proceeding as scheduled is the launch of OneKey MLS, scheduled for March 24th. On that date the new regional MLS will be open for business, with very little changes to how you access data via the Matrix system. Your saved listings and searches will still be there, augmented with more than 20,000 listings from the Hamptons, through Long Island and the boroughs of New York City. The launch of OneKey MLS will be quickly followed with the launch of the consumer facing website, OneKeyMLS.com, which will have more than 40,000 listings throughout the entire New York City and greater suburban area, some of the most prestigious geography in the world!

I truly believe that the launch of OneKey MLS and its accompanying consumer facing website are going to be true gamechangers, benefiting our Realtor members and consumers alike.

In the meantime, take deep breaths, don’t succumb to misinformation and panic, practice social distancing, stay at home if and when you can, and be prepared to drink some lemonade.

Editors Note:

This viewpoint reflected the author’s sentiments prior to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order that shut down all non-essential businesses, including real estate brokerage and development.

Richard Haggerty
HGAR CEO