The current political situation with the government shutdown is starting to put a strain on both Federal employees and the businesses they do business with, including other financial obligations such as car payments and insurance. The heart of this situation isn’t the government, it’s the people affected and how their hardship affects all of us.

Typically, people have spending habits; occasionally going out to eat, purchasing clothing, booking hotels for getaways, donating to schools and churches, entertaining at home, going to concerts… these are extras and only part of this story.

Without a specific end in sight, it makes people frightened to spend. They don’t know if another upheaval of political personalities will cause their family to not have an income for another paycheck or two – or more. As much as people are supposed to save for bad situations, realistically, most families live paycheck to paycheck. This type of financial curve is sometimes all it takes to quickly and dramatically change their lives and the financial stability of their families. Not only do they stop spending money on extras, but they stop paying regular bills, including mortgages. The ripple effects can be felt everywhere. Once basic needs are met – food, utilities, gas – other payments may start to slide.

Those same families typically support local and remote businesses. This is where a waterfall effect will really put the squeeze on other local businesses whose customers include furloughed Federal employees. Parallel businesses such as government contractors and support businesses including day-care facilities begin to feel the effect of losing a portion of their customers. If parents aren’t working, they won’t need daycare and won’t have the income to pay for it. But if they opt out and choose not to pay to “hold the spot” for their child, they may not get it back. Large transactions that were in process such as securing a home loan, car loan, or refi – it’s most likely on hold, which will affect the interest rates of those loans, as well. Everything stops. Trickling down further, businesses who provide more optional services and products such as salons, movie theaters, concert venues, restaurants, clothing shops of all sizes, and hotels will see the effect depending on the percentage of their local clients that are employed by the government.

What can a Real Estate professional do to be of value?

Time to gather your resources into a list that can help them all.  Look through your client files. At the time of the transaction you helped them with, you knew what the occupations of your client. Do you think they are affected? Can you help support their business during this time? Can you reach out to them with compassion to check in?

Ways to support local businesses and your clients of the past:

  1. Make a list of trusted resources on your site and list those you can stand behind and tell why you support them. Link to their websites and include their contact information in your newsletters, website, and social media accounts.
  2. Give them online reviews on Facebook and Google. On Facebook, look for their business page. If you have friended them, find the link in their profile. Not only LIKE the page, if you haven’t already, share it out. If you’ve done business with them, give them a review. On Google you can search for them and use the right column box with their business info – that’s where you find the review prompt. shows up with review prompt.
  3. Use Yelp? Why not review them there? Both Yelp and Google reviews provide word-of-mouth credibility to a business.
  4. Are you connected to them on LinkedIn? This may really have a positive impact on them if you gave them a review as a trusted resource, vendor, supplier.
  5. Think of Saturdays as always being Small Business Saturday – even if you only get a cup of coffee,  purchase a gift you need from a local business rather than Amazon, drop off dry cleaning, – take the time, get to know the owners. LISTEN to them. Ask them what they love most about owning their business and what their biggest challenge is lately. This is not the time to pitch, this is the time to LISTEN and be OF VALUE. This presents you an opportunity to share your experiences at these neighborhood businesses on your social media channels, such as Instagram and Facebook, widening their potential customer base.

Need a Local Market Expert?

Audubon Realty’s REO Division has specialized in the Greater New Orleans market since 2002, providing you personalized service, expert knowledge of the unique Louisiana market, and we’re ready to help you with your assets. Contact us today!