Officially, we are about two weeks into the coronavirus pandemic in Alberta. How is COVID-19 impacting the real estate sales cycle in Lethbridge? And how will the way we buy and sell homes change, perhaps forever?
Sadly, when I surveyed the online landscape for a little truth-telling about the real estate state of the union, there was a lot of rah-rah and not a lot of substance. Real estate industry ‘leaders’ are keeping their messaging positive because, frankly, their markets and their shareholders want to hear it. But this does little to help the homeowner or homebuyer who is sitting in the trenches wondering what to do next, if he does anything at all.
Without a doubt, the numbers are going to reflect the current drop-off in showing activity. Less showings today, mean less closings in May and June. Real estate professionals had better prepare for this reality and in turn, prepare their clients for a general market slowdown, albeit we have no way to know how protracted it will be.
The problem is even bigger than COVID, however, for, even in the most ideal of circumstances, buying or selling a home is an emotionally charged experience. And while we may not agree on how serious this pandemic will be, we can all agree that ‘theatre’ helps no one here. Cooler heads will prevail (and will move homes, no matter the market).
In this new COVID-19 world, homebuyers and homeowners are experiencing new stressors that add layers of complexity and concern to the transaction. They have a right to expect even sharper tools and advice from their REALTOR®.
This is the industry’s time to shine. Real estate agents must set the bar higher and deliver an end-to-end experience that enables the consumer to go into the biggest transaction of their lives feeling empowered and confident. Just a few aspects of the business that we should expect (and hope) to change:
- Enhanced screening of homes to show prospective buyers.
- Higher quality listing descriptions and images (3D tours should be the norm.)
- Consistent buyer pre-qualification, for financial stability.
- Professional, screened showings. (Do the kids need to tear through the home?)
Watch below for an in-depth discussion about the impacts of a COVID-19 on the real estate industry.