When we went into our first lockdown under COVID-19, there was a feeling that the real estate market would slow. In a very surprising turn for some of us, it did the opposite and all around North America, the market surged. In the past few months, many studies have been released and we have learned a lot. The 18 months of restrictions have given us time to reflect and re-evaluate how to proceed in the future.

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Here are some interesting nuggets that were expressed at recent real estate conferences that I attended:

  • More agents and their clients want to work from home.
  • Home is more important than before.
  • Home is looked at more as a hub, open 24 hours a day, not just evenings and weekends.
  • Home has more of an emotional bond than ever before.
  • Outdoor living space is more than a yard.
  • Homes are hardwired for more home offices and have more bandwidth for smart home features.
  • Home is less “status” and more a reflection of values.
  • What a home offers is now more important than location.
  • Green homes are becoming more important to consumers.
  • More community involvement is being seen as a result of the pandemic.
  • COVID-19 has accelerated rates of retirement.
  • Home design and home improvement have become more important.
  • Does the house fit my lifestyle?
  • What does this mean for Realtors?
  • It’s more important for an agent to be a good connector and be the source of excellent service providers to their clients. It’s now more of a concierge role.
  • Virtual home tours are more important. They are efficient and safe for the consumer. Video is prime and needs to be short and concise.
  • When there are multiple offers, sellers need help in choosing the right one.
  • Realtors must be better advisors. It is less about the breadth and more about the depth of knowledge.
  • Trust is more important than ever.
  • Artificial intelligence will become more personable. AI is now able to duplicate the voice of the person that you have called.
  • Fobs and rings will open doors, start your car and affect what you see on your phone screens.
  • QR codes that at one time looked as if they were irrelevant have become standard fare in many locations.

The only thing that we can guarantee in a marketplace is change. Let’s see how these changes develop and affect us in the future. There is a shortage of homes in North America and those who are hoping for a real estate “bubble to burst,” may be surprised. As one of the speakers said, “You are not buying at today’s premium but at tomorrow’s discount.”

Richard Silver
Richard Silver is a sales representative and leader of Silver Burtnick & Associates at Sotheby’s International Realty Canada. He is designated as an ABR, e-PRO and a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS). A past director-at-large for CREA as well as a past president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, Richard is also a speaker and writer focusing on the use of technology in real estate, as well as the international real estate market and its effect on the industry. He is the founding past president of the Asian Real Estate Association of America, Toronto Chapter.

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