Most real estate professionals understand that Covid has thrown the industry into a bit of a new world. Homes are still selling and listings are active, but the industry has changed.
Many homeowners aren’t comfortable with people coming into their homes. Open houses or showings could be restricted in some areas. Masks, hand sanitizer and other precautions may be the norm when showings are allowed. Some homeowners may have even pulled their listings. Yet, inventory is still moving, although the inventory may be slim.
While the early summer looked to be a turning point for many areas of the country, with businesses reopening and life getting back to some small sense of normalcy (with masks and distancing, of course), rising cases in many states have put the brakes on the reopening process. California, for example, has rolled back the eased restrictions and started to shut down yet again.
Will Covid ever disappear? That’s up for debate, but a vaccine may help our lives go back to normal sometime in the future. At least, that’s the hope.
When restrictions ease, when businesses and school schedules go back to normal, what does the future hold for the real estate industry?
The financial fallout from Covid is still a bit of an unknown. Some are predicting that personal bankruptcies will rise; this could mean a glut of foreclosures.
What will happen to interest rates? Those rates affect the future of the industry, too. Will rates go low? Or increase?
We can’t predict the financial future. However, there are some trends in the real estate industry that will likely continue post Covid. So let’s focus on what the business of the industry may look like when normalcy becomes the norm.
Videos and Photo Slideshows as a Selling Point
Pictures are a lifeline for real estate professionals right now. So are video tours of homes. These trends are likely to continue after Covid.
Consumers have flocked to online shopping during the pandemic; shopping online is safe, easy and is the perfect solution to the panic-inducing crowded stores. The same holds true when shopping for a home.
Become proficient with the photography and videography, because more buyers may be turning to these online resources in the future.
Some buyers might be wary about going into someone’s home even after the pandemic. For this reason, virtual showings may become the norm. These showings could be like conference calls or perhaps they may be created by a professional to showcase the home in a unique format.
Real estate professionals could allow buyers to request specific details about the house for a more personalized tour. These tours could be live-streamed or pre-taped. Staging and creating an amazing design that appeals to buyers will be a selling point!
Virtual Open Houses
Like the virtual showing, virtual open houses could provide a safer opportunity for buyers to see a new home. Create a unique showing and set up the video or livestream for a particular date/time.
Real estate pros could even offer a Q&A session for buyers to ask questions about the home. Perhaps a buyer wants to see a detail up close or wants more information about a specific feature.
These virtual events also can be themed for the holidays! Get creative and add your unique personal and professional touch!
Heightened Health & Safety Measures
Even when a vaccine is available, some may still request safety measures when a buyer enters the home. Sanitizer, extra cleaning, gloves or other precautions could be the new normal.
It’s important to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and safe. Always abide by state/local guidelines for safety. When in doubt, visit the CDC’s website!
The Stock Market Could Be a Friend or Enemy
The economy affects the real estate industry. Forbes contributor Peter Lane Taylor talked about how quickly his house sold, only to have the sale fall apart when the stock market sank.
Unfortunately, the economy and the stock market can be the real estate market’s best buddy…or worst nightmare. Cash buyers could have that cash tied in stocks, bonds or other investments, so if the market drops, they might not want to sell…and may need to find a lender.
If Normal Isn’t Normal, Expect Anything
As most of the country has discovered, Covid can rear its ugly head even when things seem to be on the upswing. Again, unless we have a vaccine, anything can change.
This means that showings could be prohibited. And, of course, other restrictions and health guidelines could be implemented, too. Stay on top of all health guidelines!
Supply, Demand and Inventory
Will it be a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? During Covid, inventory wasn’t great. Those needing to buy might not have had many options.
What does the future hold for inventory? That’s a tough prediction to make. It may take some time for some sellers to feel comfortable putting their home on the market; others may not have an issue. Buyers who might have been looking pre-Covid could have faced unemployment.
One city may have a glut of inventory, others may have very little. The future right now is very much a wait and see situation.
Homes of the Future
Taylor’s article in Forbes also touched on the future of the industry, and one of the predictions about the future focused on the amenities and design of the homes post-Covid. Taylor mentioned that future homes could offer more design features to accommodate the new work-from-home norm that also could be in our future.
Maybe homes of the future feature a glut of tech offerings, designed to be controlled by our devices (think IoT). We may see rooms painted in serene colors that look amazing at video conferences. Who knows, we could see projector systems that cast nature scenes onto walls, too.
Will open floor-plan designs rule post-Covid? Or will layouts feature more enclosed spaces to allow for everyone to have a workspace?
When we think about the future of the real estate market, we also have to think of the future of home design. All this time holed up in our homes likely has many of us envisioning what we may wish to change about our homes—and the layout.
Pools may become en vogue, because during Covid, many were scrambling for small pools. Bigger backyards could be trending in the future. Finished basements also could be desirable as families look for more extensions of space.
Real estate professionals can look to the future with hope and see changes from Covid that will be positive and maybe make the real estate profession a bit easier. The industry may pivot to video showings and open houses. We could see a desire for unique spaces and features in the homes of the future. Anything is possible, and, ultimately, the industry needs to be prepared for the changes that may come our way…good and bad.