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Recently, a real estate agent and Contactually user came to me and asked if I had any recommendations on the right way to reach out to their network after being impacted by a wildfire. It’s a great question—as one of the most knowledgeable resources about a community, Realtors and brokers are uniquely positioned to help after a natural disaster.

A lot of people don’t reach out after hardship, not because they don’t care, but because they don’t know what to say. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Be extremely sincere and honest. This is not a time to sell at all. Any emails or communication you send should mention nothing about the market or anything related to buying/selling. That is literally the worst thing you can do at this time; the contact will come back when the time is right if they know that they can trust you to have their best interests at heart.
  2. Do your research into the recovery resources that exist. If someone lost their home, knows someone who lost their home, or their home was damaged, mention the resources to them. As a Realtor, you are the home expert, which also means that you are familiar with the government resources, charities, etc., that exist for people impacted by the disaster. It’s okay to mention these resources to them, but, in order to provide real support, you have to be knowledgeable and do the research on the resources available.
  3. Use your network to their advantage. You probably work with and recommend people you trust, and now’s the time for the value of those relationships to shine. Whether your contact needs a contractor, painter, electrician, or something else, let them know that you can help with a list of candidates that you already know and trust. It can be overwhelming to have to find these resources on your own after a disaster; providing a trusted starting point can help.

Here’s an example four-sentence email template structure you can follow:

Subject: A sincere note during a challenging time


Hi {first_name},

Sentence 1: [Sincerely state how you can relate to the disaster]

Sentence 2: [Explain the unique value/resources you can provide to them, without selling anything]

Sentence 3: [Show hopefulness for the future]

Sentence 4: [End with sincerity and empathy to their situation and tell them that you are there for them]



Above all else, it’s most important that you reach out in a sensitive and sincere way. If you are truly ready to help your network, there is so much that you can do with your time, expertise, and resources.