STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (MARCH 30, 2020) – In the midst the COVID-19 crisis, individuals and families on Staten Island, and around the globe, are dealing with both health and financial concerns.
Among the hardest-hit commercial sectors in the United States is the housing industry, impacting real estate professionals such as those doing business on Staten Island.
The Island’s real estate brokerages are not deemed an essential business under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s workforce reduction mandate. As a result, real estate brokers and their associated licensees are forbidden to have any in-person encounters with members of the public as part of their Realtor-related activities, explains the Staten Island Board of Realtors® (SIBOR) and New York State Association of Realtors® (NYSAR).
For now, Island Realtors are conducting business operations at home, away from their offices.
“The key to beating this virus is to limit direct contact as much as possible. That should be everyone’s top priority,” said Sandy Krueger, CEO OF SIBOR. “Realtors on Staten Island are members of the community, and concerned about the health of everyone in our borough. This emergency is forcing many industries to look into the future sooner than expected, and we are responding by rapidly transitioning to new technologies, such as virtual showings, virtual open houses, digital transactions, and much more.”
As they incorporate new state-of-the art software and communications procedures from their residences, Staten Island Realtors are continuing to support the American Dream of homeownership.
The ultimate aim is to “produce a better experience for buyers and sellers, which is our top priority,” said broker Scott Setaro, 2019-2020 president of SIBOR and co-owner of New Springville-based Weichert, Realtors® – Evolution Group.
The sudden push toward social distancing and remote work has prompted some non-Realtor businesses with ties to the housing industry to adjust their procedures, as well.
“Mortgage lenders and title companies are changing their norms to adapt to the new way we are operating, by utilizing virtual closings, e-signatures and evolving technologies,” Setaro explained. “It’s an across-the-board change on how we do business.”
Broker Traci Cangiano, a SIBOR past-president and owner of Great Kills-based Cangiano Estates Ltd., said she unconditionally subscribes to the orders from Gov. Cuomo’s office, SIBOR and NYSAR.
“I’ve relocated my office to my dining room table to conduct what little business I can do from home,” she said. “I am encouraging my team to focus on how to make their business better now – so when this is all over, they will be familiar with the technology and the new way of doing business.”
Like Krueger and Setaro, Cangiano, sees the current emergency as a catalyst toward a “more cloud-driven and virtual” way of conducting business.
“SIBOR is offering us new tools … to assist with working virtually, and I really think it will be so beneficial for those who choose to take advantage of it,” Cangiano said.
In the aftermath of the current crisis, the way the Staten Island real estate industry conducts business will forever be changed for the better, SIBOR CEO Krueger predicted.
“We’ll look back some day and realize the COVID-19 outbreak was the stimulus that really pushed us into the digital age,” Krueger said. “I believe consumers will profit from a digitally empowered real estate professional.”
About the Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR)
Established in 1915, the Staten Island Board of REALTORS® (SIBOR) is the largest professional association in Staten Island, N.Y.
SIBOR exists to enhance the ability and opportunity of its members to conduct their business successfully and ethically, and promote the preservation of the public’s right to own, transfer and use real property.
Comprised of more than 2,000 members, SIBOR serves real estate agents, brokers and affiliated professionals throughout the borough and surrounding areas.
SIBOR is the provider of the Staten Island Multiple Listing Service Inc. (SIMLS), which works as a clearinghouse through which more than 250 local real estate firms exchange information on properties they have listed for sale. Together, its members participate in over 5,000 real estate transactions every year.
All SIBOR Realtors belong to the New York State Association of REALTORS® (NYSAR) and the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).
SIBOR may be reached at 718-928-3220 and viewed online at SIBORREALTORS.com. SIBOR may also be visited on Facebook at Staten Island Board of Realtors,on Twitter via @SIBOR, and on Instagram at SIBOR REALTORS (siborrealtors).
Media Contact: Barton Horowitz