It has become very clear that the Coronavirus outbreak has definitely created a very new reality for all of us...at least temporarily. We understand that everyone is dealing with many new challenges, whether personally, financially or professionally, and we want you to know... You are not alone.It's up to each and every one of us to do whatever we can to get through this, as quickly as possible, and we can only take comfort in knowing that things will get better.
On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Coronavirus a global pandemic and less than a week later, Ontario declared a State of Emergency. Social and physical distancing has forced us to spend time at home, away from friends and family, with only short trips to get essentials and walk the dog. On a positive note, we have finally tackled some of the items on our "Honey-Do" list that we keep saying we just don't have time for.
Although Real Estate has been deemed an "Essential Service" it is NOT Business-as-Usual. Our main focus right now is the Health and Safety of all of clients, customers, friends and families as well as the community in which we all live. So when clients call us to ask about buying or selling a home right now, our recomendation is that if you don't need to move, don't.
However, even during a global pandemic, there will always be Sellers who MUST sell, and Buyers who MUST buy. If you have found yourself in this situation, we understand that you are probably feeling very overwhelmed. Good information and advice are often the antidote to stress, especially during challenging times. If you have found yourself in a position whereby you need to Buy or Sell now, we are still here for you.
So that leads to the question.... In the wake of a Global Pandemic, how can we "safely" Buy and/or Sell a home?
As Realtors® we simply need to work harder for our clients and step-up our game even more. We need to manage expectations, protect the health and well being of our clients and stay on top of every detail of a purchase or sale especially with all the unexpected challenges a global pandemic can bring.
Being able to walk a Buyer-Client through a home without stepping foot in the door can be a challenge, as can Listing and preparing a home for sale that you have never seen in person. We are however up for the challenge.
For decades, people have been buying pre-construction homes from builders before subdivisions were even constructed. They use floor plans, virtual and video tours, detailed descriptions, lists of upgrades and improvements, as well as eye-catching photos. It's no different for us today.
With the use of Video conferencing, we are able to conduct virtual "face-to-face" Home Buyer and Home Seller Consulations as well as all follow up meetings. We can also communicate with current and past clients by video also.
During these times of self-isolation and social distancing, a greater percentage of the population is at home, glued to their tv screens and scrolling through social media. We have also seen a marked increase in the number of visitors to our website which means even though times are tough and uncertain, people are still searching (or dreaming) about their next home or cottage.
Getting a home ready for sale in a typcial market is quite the process and a lot of work and you can only imagine the additional work involved now. With the use of Video, we can have Home Sellers walk us through their homes so we can still provide staging suggestions, offer pricing strategies and discuss the entire selling process.
We work closely with other carefully chosen professionals that can provide the tools we need to give buyers an "in-person" feeling while they are viewing potential homes for sale on line. We need incredible photos, floor plans, detailed descriptions and I think it's crucial to be able to produce 360º Virtual Tours that Buyers can navigate themselves so they can truly see themselves walking through the property without physically setting foot inside, especially when it comes to owner and tenant occupied homes.
Other tools that we use (and have been using for some time already) to help us maintain social distancing include Digital Signing, Wire Transfers for deposits and our Mortgage Broker and Lawyer partners that have also adopted a lot of the same digital / virtual technologies.
So, although our main interactions with each other would be more "Virtual" for now, we can still provide the same great service you would expect with all the various tools and technology we have available while following the proper health and safey guidelines.
When times are tough, we need to adapt and it's possible that some of these short-term solutions could turn out to be long-term alternatives for our industry.
So again, if you dont' need to move ...PLEASE DON"T. But if you do have an URGENT REAL ESTATE NEED, please reach out. We are here to help and know we can help you in the SAFEST possible way.
Wash your hands, stay safe and remember, we are all in this together.