During the last five to six weeks, Realtors across Canada have been adapting to this new “normal” and are pondering what’s to come post COVID-19. What will the market do when all of this is said and done? What will post-quarantine life look like?
We have compiled a list of five burning questions that real estate professionals all over Canada are thinking about, along with some insights, tips and perspective.
1. When will things go back to “normal”?
What exactly is “normal”? Are we talking about life as it existed pre-pandemic? Or are we talking about a “normal” market? When it comes to the market prior to COVID-19, was it normal to list a home, be presented with over 10 multiple offers, hold them back and present them in one day? Was it normal that homes were selling for 150K over asking price?
When the pandemic comes to an end, there will likely be a new normal – both in life and within the real estate market. Showing homes virtually and touring homes online may become the new norm; buyers may not tour eight to 10 homes with their Realtor on a Sunday afternoon.
What we know now is that the Canadian government is focusing on containing the spread of COVID-19 and is mitigating the risk and impact of the coronavirus by implementing social distancing. How this plays out when it is over is unknown, and it is hard to predict when this will be over, or how things will transpire.
2. How will we price a home with all of these changes?
At this moment, we are seeing movement in the market. Buyers who need to buy are still going to buy. Sellers who need to sell are still going to sell. However, the process has changed. We are going to see a shift in supply and demand (of course – we are experiencing a world pandemic and people aren’t leaving their homes).
When it comes to pricing a home, a common strategy in hot markets over the last while was listing lower, which would result in multiple offers. Now, we may see a modification in strategy where homes are listed at a price that the seller is content with and will be accepting offers at any time and not on a specified date. Sellers who need to sell will need to change their selling strategy and their agents will need to advise them. It is not about the game – it is about urgency. Under-listing properties and holding back offers is not the name of the game anymore.
3. Will viewings and process change from here on out?
How many buyers will go on multiple tours once this is over? We don’t know for sure but we may see a change in behaviour and best practices. Let’s ask this question: was it normal process to go and tour nine to 10 properties at once? Was that the most effective process to buy a home? Process may shift – buyers may tour multiple listings virtually, and Realtors will spend more time getting to know their clients and what they want and presenting them with one or maybe two homes to physically tour.
We may therefore in fact see fewer physical viewings in the future – but more serious ones.
4. Will the market crash?
We did not know we would be in this global pandemic – and we do not know how the market is going to be affected post-pandemic.
It is, however, important to talk about what is happening now. Advise clients on what they can do now. Advising your clients based on projections and predictions can be dangerous.
5. As a Realtor, what can I do now given the situation?
Connect! Network, network, network!
Now is the time to build your database, amplify your online presence, connect with people, lend a helping hand where you can, communicate, nurture your networks and increase engagement. Help your urgent buyers and sellers. Get familiar with virtual tools. Make phone calls. Collaborate with other Realtors.
Now is the time to connect, engage and inspire!
Marly Broudie is the founder and CEO of SocialEyes Communications, a digital marketing firm based in Toronto. She works with several top-producing agents helping them with their digital marketing – everything from their brand, to social presence, data base building and lead gen.