How The Power of Teamwork and Technology Are Keeping First Team Strong During Crisis

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Built on a foundation of training, technology, and teamwork, First Team Real Estate, and its agents are ready for business during the COVID-19 outbreak.

A challenging and uncertain real estate market is nothing new to Cameron Merage, founder and CEO of First Team Real Estate. The company was founded 44 years ago on the principles of adaptability, innovation, and teamwork and it is those strategies that have helped the company grow from one office in Huntington Beach to over 30 offices across Southern California, and will get local buyers and sellers through this pandemic.

First Team has been serving the local community as the #1 Independent Brokerage in Southern California for 18 years1, weathering good markets and bad, including successfully navigating the 2008 recession. Social distancing is no match for the well-established system of internal communication, suite of virtual tools, and well-oiled teamwork that is allowing First Team agents to provide uninterrupted, top quality service to their clients.

Training and Technology

While agents and office staff are physically at home, the entire company is more connected than ever, engaged in Zoom office meetings, mastermind groups, and training focused on the virtual tools and systems needed to succeed in today’s market. Sharing inspirational stories, new best practices, and of course buyer and seller journeys of those still active in the market, a strong and united First Team family is perfecting the process of how to buy and sell 100% virtually. With experienced First Team management dedicated to the success of each and every agent, the power of teamwork is bringing together the greatest minds in real estate to define solutions in today’s challenging market.

Always providing its agents a suite of online tools and services, First Team has also dedicated this time to helping agents perfect those tools and programs through virtual training, webinars, and how-to videos. Covering topics ranging from hosting and promoting virtual open houses to seller preparation resources available through the company’s First Impressions Concierge program, these tools give First Team agents the capabilities they need to continue serving their clients’ needs without any interruption of service.

A Voice For The Agents and the Industry

Among the impressive leadership team within the company is Michele Harrington, COO and Broker of Record at First Team Real Estate. Honored by RISMedia as a 2020 Newsmaker within the “Achiever” category and named 2019’s Woman of the Year by California’s 73rd District, Michele is a driving force within the real estate industry – now more so than ever. Representing First Team agents and all real estate professionals in California, Michele has been intimately involved as an advocate for establishing real estate as an essential service during COVID-19.

“Our industry is absolutely essential, not just to the economy, but to families who are relocating, between homes, or in some cases can’t afford their homes anymore and are forced to move,” explains Michele. “We offer a service that was somehow overlooked, and I wanted to make sure we had a voice that made it clear – we are here, we can operate safely, and we are needed by people all over the country. I understand that as a part of this amazing organization I have a louder voice now than ever, and I plan to use it for the betterment of our industry and homeowners.”

In her role as a director for both the National Association of REALTORS® and California Association of REALTORS® (CAR), Michele has used her influence as a voice for all agents to ensure the essential work they do for local families is understood and protected. As chair of the risk management committee within the Orange County Association of Realtors (OCAR), she also led a town hall with C.A.R. CEO Joel Singer and Gov Hutchinson to help agents get additional industry questions answered.

Time To Get Creative

Brokers and businesses of all types must work at their most creative level during COVID-19 to remain successful. And it is those who can problem-solve digitally and remain resourceful in the short-run who are most likely to carry their success into normalized market conditions as the world naturally trends toward relying increasingly on online transactions of all kinds. Not only is First Team meeting the virtual needs of buyers and sellers today, they are investing in solutions to meet the changing real estate landscape of tomorrow.

“In these trying times, our first concern must be health and safety,” said Cameron Merage. “But companies like First Team with the resources, experience, and liquidity to come through this and learn from the experience can look forward to increased success.”

While the First Team family may look a little different today than it did just one month ago, it is still dedicated to the needs of Southern California homeowners, helping place families in safe and happy homes.


[1] Top broker report published in January 2020 based on data available from 7/1/2001-12/31/2019, all CRMLS, all brokers.