By Christine Graf
Equitas Realty broker/owner Janet Besheer recently relocated her Saratoga Springs office from 38 High Rock Ave. to space in the Wilton Mall.
Her decision to move out of the High Rock Avenue space was made after the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the way she and her staff did business. Both her businesses, Equitas Realty and Equitas Realty Management, are located there.
Because her agents are spending significantly less time in the office, Besheer decided to downsize from a 2,800-square-foot office to a 1,000-square-foot space in the Wilton Mall. The office was previously occupied by Liberty Travel and is located near the Home Goods and Healthy Living Market entrances.
“We’ve realized in recent years that with technology and the ability to do everything on our phones and being totally mobile, there was less need for an office. The way people shop for real estate has truly changed since I started in 2000,” she said. “And when COVID hit this March, we were not allowed to go to our office.”
During the early months of the pandemic, real estate agents were also not allowed to show houses. Instead, they relied solely on photographs and videos to market properties to prospective buyers. All meetings were held virtually and agents began using electronic signature software.
“I think what COVID did is that it propelled everybody into using technology which would have probably taken a lot longer to figure out,” she said.
Besheer noted that “in the midst of everything changing, the malls are changing too. The malls are no longer just for big box stores. They are becoming a part of the fabric of the community. In this mall, we see all sorts of businesses that were never in malls before.”
Besheer said she and her staff are pleased with the new office.
“A lot of people are going past our windows on a regular basis. And they are all stopping to look which is a great thing. It’s giving us great visibility, and we’re happy we are here.”
According to Besheer, the local real estate market is booming in part because of the impact of COVID-19. She said it is especially noticeable in the high-end home market.
Prior to COVID, homes that were more than $800,000 “would usually sit on the market for a few months or longer. During COVID, when those listings came on they were sold in one day with multiple offers,” she said. “I think it’s this exodus of people who are getting out of the big cities and wanting to have room to spread out. And they weren’t just coming from New York City. They were coming from Minnesota, and California, and Massachusetts.”
Besheer, a former opera singer with an MBA in finance, entered the local real estate market 20 years ago after moving to the area. She is a past president of the Capital Region Women’s Council of Realtors and operated a Keller Williams franchise for nine years before founding Equitas Realty in 2014.
For more information, visit equitasny.com.
By Christine Graf