Two years later: What have Realtors learned from the pandemic?

March 1, 2022

It’s 2022 – the COVID-19 pandemic is about the age of a toddler, and many of us are still trying to contextualize what the pandemic meant for them as individuals and society as a whole. The real estate market and your work habits as a real estate agent are no exception. So if you are a new realtor entering the profession in 2022, or a realtor who just wants to see how your colleagues have dealt with a historical event of the past two years, this article is for you. Learn about the lessons that Canada’s best realtors have learned during COVID-19.

The most significant step for realtors these years was getting online. This included pushing your digital marketing strategies, compiling COVID-related home showing restrictions, and migrating your paper documents to the cloud.

How do I use social media as a realtor?

As a pre-pandemic realtor, you may have found clients at your child’s hockey game or a neighbourhood dinner party. But our inability to gather in groups has made this type of networking and lead generation nearly impossible. As a result, the pandemic has permanently changed how people meet real estate agents.

Social media channels such as Instagram and Facebook are a great way to build relationships with potential clients. They can potentially become lead generation machines! The ability to socialize on digital apps has replaced in-person events as to how you meet your future clients.

The pandemic has also pushed Canadians to spend more time online. That’s why COVID-19 has made a digital online presence more important than before. A good website can provide leads with all the information they’re looking for regarding your credentials. It’s also a space to boast your past client work to ensure clients that they’re choosing the right agent when they contact you.

Can Artificial Intelligence make the life of a realtor easier?

Using technology to find customers online is only one aspect of the modern real estate agent’s career. Many agents and brokerages are using the power of Artificial Intelligence because, as IBM puts it, AI is at “its simplest form…a field…to enable problem-solving”. The right AI programs can get you more leads and increase productivity.

Through AI, you can use chatbots to convert visitors to your website into leads, growbots to run your marketing campaigns, or even save you hours from tedious document review. The AI industry is expected to double annual economic growth rates in 2035 “by changing the nature of work.” If you have a pain point in your real estate career, there’s like an AI application that addresses it. Start searching, and get ready to take your business to the next level.

The world is opening up: do virtual showings still have a place?

Open houses were once a pillar of selling a home. But a dozen people enclosed in a small space is no longer safe with the possibility of COVID-19 spread. Even private home showings or meetings in person can be a risk. During the recent omicron wave, 1 in 5 Canadian households had a COVID-19 infection within a two-month period. Even with restrictions lifted, COVID-19 is still a risk, and having a virtual tour option helps you put a client’s safety first.

Whether it’s through facetime or Zoom, many agents now provide virtual guided tours. In fact, real estate portals have seen a 200-500% increase in virtual home tour requests since the beginning of the pandemic. Although clients can’t get the same feel for a property through video, it can provide them with a home sense. After a guided tour, agents usually offer a private in-person showing to close the deal if they’re still interested.

For clients opting for an in-person viewing, sanitation and PPE are essential for home showings. This includes wearing a mask and other protective equipment, providing hand sanitizer around the property, and ensuring that everything is disinfected before and after a showing. Although these precautions make home showings more work, safety comes first. Wearing one of the more effective types of face masks, such as an N-95 or K-95, will not only limit any spread of COVID but show your client you prioritize their safety.

To further compensate for in-person showing restrictions, agents and their brokerage firms have pushed the use of media such as photos, videos, and 3D renderings. Brokerages are commonly looking for full-time real estate photographers and videographers to accommodate all their agent’s needs. Some real estate boards have also upped the number of photos agents can upload of a property.

Should I close deals online?

Whatever restrictions are in place by provincial governments, it’s key to reduce the number of in-person meetings. This includes discussing the next steps with clients for their home sale or purchase and signing documents.

Hosting virtual meetings can accomplish much of what you need to do in person. Although you may miss a person’s body language, it’s the best safe alternative. You can even manage closing documents online with e-signatures.

How is the condo marketing doing?

The pandemic caused the real estate and stock market to crash temporarily. But both came back stronger than before. Part of this recovery resulted from the Bank of Canada lowering interest rates. This has allowed Canadians to purchase homes at a lower cost.

During the pandemic, many Canadians moved out of their condos and into detached homes, which provided more space and solitude. The more significant area allows remote employees to build their dream home office and possibly a backyard to go outdoors without the fear of being surrounded by strangers.

While the beginning of 2021, major cities became more of a buyer’s market for condos, the script has flipped. Due to the increased condo purchases last year, urban centres like Toronto have faced low condo inventory levels. It seems that those who predicted the condo market would rebound after the easing of restrictions were correct.

Are people still moving out of the city?

While people are still moving into Canada’s largest cities, non-urban real estate markets are experiencing a renaissance. The fact that most office workers can now work remotely means there’s no longer a need to live close to your office. Some businesses have even provided an option for employees to work remotely after the pandemic. As well, living in the city once provided an easier commute. But the commute is now from your bed to your desk. This is why we’ve seen many moves to the suburbs and as far as cottage country, where real estate prices are lower and green space is bountiful.

This migration has also caused once quiet cities and cottage areas to see a red-hot real estate market. Overall, the Canadian Real Estate market is expected to remain strong in 2022, albeit a bit cooler than the past two years.

Everyone’s businesses have faced enormous challenges and changes over the past two year. Yours is no different. We continue to learn and adapt to the historic situation we are in. Let’s continue to persevere!

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