Kathy Morris & Robin Smith

Realtors® Kathy Morris and Robin Smith assist buyers and sellers throughout the South Bay, focusing on South Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes and Manhattan Beach. Kathy bought her first property at the age of 23 and five years later turned her love of real estate into a career. Robin got her real estate license in 2015, and the two have been business partners ever since. They joined Compass in May 2020. 

What are the challenges of buying or selling a home during a pandemic? 

“For our sellers, we have to make sure the professional photos, videos and virtual tours are of the highest quality to show the home in the absolute best light. First impressions are more important than ever to keep buyers engaged and wanting to take the next step to schedule a virtual or in-person visit.

For our buyers, it’s more important than ever to have all their ducks in a row with their lender and be ready to move quickly when the right property becomes available. The South Bay market heated up even more during the pandemic, and we are again seeing multiple offers and short days on market.”

How has the shift to working remotely impacted the real estate industry? 

“Our job has never waited for us to be sitting in our office to have the phone ring or the meeting start. We are used to working around the clock and from multiple desks, kitchen tables and inside our cars. What has changed is we have more out-of-town clients, virtual consultations, FaceTime showings and video tours. We had a client who bought a home and had never stepped foot in the door until move-in day.”

How do you help your clients beat the competition?  

“It’s no secret that the South Bay market has been hot for years and continues to be very competitive. We definitely have secret strategies that we use to help the offers we write stand out. However, we believe the relationships we’ve built with the agents in our community also help our offers rise to the top. Agents, while working in the best interests of their clients, need to be able to work well together to make the transaction go smoothly and keep unnecessary stress off their clients. When an offer comes through from an agent that you know is ethical and has integrity, you want to make that offer work out to ensure a pleasant transaction.”

What do you love most about your job?  

“We love the excitement when we get to hand over the keys to our buyers and when we put up that SOLD sign for our sellers. Real estate is such an emotional roller coaster, and it is the best feeling when your clients are so grateful and happy at the end of a transaction.”

Why did you join compass?  

“We were impressed with the innovative tools and technology they were able to offer us and our clients. The company’s forward-thinking collaboration and positivity has proven to be invaluable during the pandemic.”

In what ways is the real estate industry an emotional business? 

“Everything about our industry is emotional.  We are helping our clients with very personal and big decisions. We deal with happy and sad tears, excitement, anxiety and stress, good and bad days. Besides negotiating the best price and terms for our clients, a huge part of our job is supporting them emotionally as we navigate toward the happy ending.”

Should I choose a large real estate company or a boutique firm? 

“The most important thing is that you are completely comfortable and trust the agents you are going to be working so closely with. That being said, one of the big reasons we love having Compass behind us is the tools that only our clients can benefit from, such as the concierge program that fronts the cost of home improvement services like staging, flooring and painting.”

What advice would you give a brand-new real estate agent? 

“Study the inventory and know the activity in the neighborhoods you want to focus on. Every transaction is different, and there is a huge learning curve so don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t have an answer. Reach out for help and advice. Have integrity and let go of ego. This business is about the people and families we are helping, and it’s a huge life moment for most of your clients. Be a good listener and over-communicate every step of the way. Also, you need to be able to think outside the box! Every transaction has different challenges, and you need to be creative to ensure the best possible outcome for your client.”

What have been your proudest moments during the recent crisis?

“At the beginning of the pandemic, there was so much uncertainty and panic. By listening to all of the concerns and fears of our clients and keeping the channels of communication open and calm for everyone, we were able to keep our clients and all parties involved working together in harmony. We are very fortunate to have given the keys to many clients during the crisis and provide that sanctuary to them during a tumultuous time.”

How are 3-D home tours changing the real estate world? 

“They make it possible to virtually experience a home without ever stepping foot on the property, which because of the pandemic is happening more and more.”

What is your #1 piece of advice during this unprecedented time? 

“Feel your feelings; we are all going through them. Smile, breathe and welcome change. There is a reason for everything, and there is always a rainbow after the storm.”