The real estate industry has been disrupted in 2020, but not necessarily to its detriment. In a recent Q&A with Karri Callahan, CFO of the global, franchise-based real estate company RE/MAX, I discussed a variety of issues related to her company and industry, as well as broader topics for finance professionals in the 21st century. In the first part of a two-part series, I asked Karri about how Covid-19 has impacted the real estate industry and how she as CFO has addressed new challenges and opportunities. Additionally, I asked her about RE/MAX’s franchise model and how a central finance leader can effectively manage a sprawling network of brokers all over the world while maintaining a strong company culture

Jeff Thomson: The real estate market tends to suffer in an economic downturn. In the Covid-19 downturn, real estate has been severely impacted, especially in urban centers. However, there have been positive gains for real estate in less populated areas as people look to leave cities. How has this sudden re-balancing of the market impacted RE/MAX’s business and operations? What have you done as CFO to mitigate or capitalize on that impact?

Karri Callahan: One might assume real estate has been slowed by the pandemic and resulting economic downturn, but in reality, while existing home sales were depressed in the late spring and early summer, activity has since strongly rebounded. Many markets across the U.S. are scorching hot – fueled by low interest rates, high demand and very low inventory. There aren’t many houses for sale, but those that do get listed are selling quickly. As we’ve seen, residential real estate has been a bright spot and has the potential of helping to lead in the country’s economic recovery.

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo’s interview with Sen. Ted Cruz descended into name-calling and insults on Wednesday night.

The 20-minute interview began with Cuomo asking the Texas Republican if President Trump did enough during the debate to condemn white supremacy, to which Cruz said he was glad the president clarified those remarks. The conversation took a turn when Cruz called the media “completely hypocritical” for how they cover racial comments from Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

“The press is partisan in this regard. Ten years ago, 2010, Joe Biden gave a eulogy for Robert Byrd, who was a Grand Cyclops of the KKK …” Cruz began before Cuomo interjected to call his point a “weak-ass argument.”

Then, when the senator offered to provide additional criticism of the former vice president, Cuomo responded, “The old Ted Cruz, who he called ‘Lyin’ Ted,’ when he wasn’t insulting your wife and your father, tweeted, ‘Hey you’re better than this, Mr. President.’ What happened to that Ted? I don’t know if he changed or if just you changed, for some reason.”

Cruz said Cuomo was insulting him and was “enjoying it.” He then took aim at CNN.

“Chris, there was a time when CNN actually cared about being journalistic and talking about facts. Donald Trump broke you guys,” he said. “I mean your entire show, your entire network now is just how much you hate Trump.”

Moments later the conversation got personal once again, this time as they were discussing the coronavirus and how specific states handled their outbreaks. Cruz brought up Cuomo’s brother, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and claimed that Democrats have sought to blame COVID-19 deaths on their political enemies.

“There is something disgusting that Democrats are doing, that Joe Biden does, and that you do, you try to blame