Business: Meet a Real Estate Developer in Bellevue, WA

Interviewer: Lillian Huang; May 25, 2020

Interviewee's name has been removed for privacy.

A completed real estate project in Kirkland, WA (Interviewee).

Could you tell us about yourself and your occupation? How does your occupation impact the local community?

I am a real estate developer who runs a boutique real estate company in the Seattle area. Real estate developers buy land, finance real estate deals, have builders build projects, and oversee the entire process of property development from start to finish. My occupation impacts the local community through reinvesting in the community, improving neighborhoods, and providing much-needed new family housing to members of the community.

How has COVID-19 affected your company and the way that it runs?

For starters, the law mandates that we have to stop work on all projects. Because of this, our contractors and team members have stopped getting paid since there isn’t anything for them to work on. Meanwhile, as our projects sit there unfinished, we still have to pay property tax, interest, insurance, and many other costs on our projects, which is a difficult financial situation to manage when you have no cash flow.

Most of our contractors and team members are frustrated because they need to work to support their families, but they aren’t allowed to. Just as with everyone else, they are also extremely concerned about the consequences of COVID-19 on the health of their families and communities.

The interior of a completed real estate project in Kirkland, WA (Interviewee).

If you are willing to share, how has COVID-19 affected you individually and your family?

Because of COVID-19 and school closures, I have had to devote more time to taking care of my family, which takes time away from strategy and project planning for my company. It has also been difficult to work with government agencies because they have been hard to get a hold of and communicate with. However, a silver lining of this outbreak is that in the future, there may be an increased demand or opportunity for real estate and housing, which would benefit our company.

The building site of a completed real estate project in Kirkland, WA (Interviewee).

What is the greatest lesson we can learn from this outbreak?

I believe that the greatest lesson we can learn from this outbreak is how to strike a balance between work and well-being. Though it has been hard being unable to work, these difficult times have allowed me to spend more time focusing on my health and personal life. An added benefit of this virus is being able to spend more time with my family since we’re at home all day.