Coronavirus is what everyone is preoccupied with these days, especially with its spread in the United States these past couple of weeks. But what exactly is happening with the Novel Coronavirus? New York real estate agents, California real estate agents, and Washington real estate agents have begun to experience the effects of COVID-19. But what will it be like for the rest of the US real estate market? Stick around to find out…
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)…What Is Going On?
To date, there are over 32,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the US. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus a pandemic and today, it is regarded as a public health emergency – one which affects all members of society.
As previously bustling cities and towns are now quieter than ever, real estate agents are wondering how this will affect their work and the real estate market as a whole. It’s important to note that COVID-19 cases in the US have still not peaked. And medical experts are saying that “things will get worse before they get better.” This means that real estate agents should expect changes in the way they do business and in housing market trends in the coming months.
What Measures Are Being Taken to Curb the Spread of Coronavirus?
On Monday, 3/16/2020, President Donald Trump and the CDC issued recommendations to:
- Avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people
- Self-isolate, to distance oneself from the community
- Limit travel unless necessary
- Close bars, restaurants, gyms, and other “social” spaces in locations with evidence of community transmission
- To work, or study, from home when possible
To this moment, no national quarantine or lockdown has been imposed in the US.
Now that we’re done with the quick facts…
How Is the Coronavirus Affecting the Real Estate Industry?
While it’s still early to tell what effects this virus will have on the real estate market 2020, we do know that entire economies and industries will be affected in the US, as well as globally. We also know that coronavirus will continue to disrupt daily operations as we know them. One thing experts are expecting this early on is that people’s buying habits and priories will be shifting during these times. Because of this, home sales in the market are expected to slow down in Q2 of 2020, a usually busy time for real estate under normal conditions.
Our modern world has never had to halt the way it is at the moment, so it’s a bit difficult to accurately forecast what’s to come. This is also the case because conditions are changing rapidly. In a little over two weeks, Italy went from a little over 100 confirmed cases, to a countrywide lockdown. Currently, there are close to 54,000 confirmed cases in Italy and counting. This is why campaigns like #StayAtHome or #I’mStayingAtHome are surfacing, as more and more people begin to practice self-isolation and self-quarantine. A nationwide lockdown may happen in the US (something that will definitely affect real estate agents). Today, some cities and states have begun to undergo serious halt to major aspects of life, the examples being New York and California.
How Does All of This Affect Real Estate Agents?
It’s no surprise that a public health emergency such as this one is likely to affect the work of real estate agents. Here are a few things that are beginning to change and are expected to alter in the coming months.
Effects on home sales
As aforementioned, it’s still quite early to predict the numerical effect on real estate sales. Analysts are foreseeing a slowdown in home sales as people have new priorities to tend to. Whoever was considering buying a home or selling a home may put things on hold for the time being. Some people may be sick or taking care of loved ones who are sick. Others may be in self-quarantine and are choosing not to leave the house. Moreover, foreign investments in the US real estate market are also expected to decrease, for the time being at least. Once this pandemic is over, experts anticipate most markets to remain seller markets.
A shift to the virtual
If you’re in a less affected housing market, you can assess the risk accordingly. But generally speaking, medical professionals are recommending self-isolation and minimizing social contact. So instead of open houses, showings are turning into real estate listing videos as real estate agents are beginning to shift to offering virtual tours of properties, whether that’s through pre-recorded videos, virtual reality (VR) tours, or live videos on social media – which can be more interactive.
Real estate businesses are adopting remote work policies and shifting physical meetings to online meetings using Zoom and Skype. And conferences are being postponed for the time being. Some real estate agents are also considering running video property inspections, to comply with government and health official recommendations. Other measures include adopting digital transactions, as well as digital signings.
Finally, real estate agents should also be moving to virtual lead qualification processes as a way to cut down on in-person interviews. To do this, you can use Mashboard’s AI buyer lead qualification as one way to cut physical contact. In addition, the tool allows you to develop an efficient and timely process that allows you to qualify real estate leads; one thing you should still be doing during this time.
Tips and Precautions for Real Estate Agents
- Begin to plan for what’s to come post-coronavirus. While it’s a bit difficult to predict what’s to happen at this point, it’s important for agents to protect their real estate businesses by planning for Q3 and Q4 of 2020. Things will go back to “normal”. So make sure you have a plan to continue your work for when they do. How well you bounce back highly depends on how well you plan at the moment.
- Make sure you have a plan for real estate lead generation during this time, and to have buyers and sellers in the pipeline.
- Continue to follow and adapt to guidelines from WHO, CDC, and NAR.
Final Words for Real Estate Agents
During times like this, it’s very important to remain calm and collected. The purpose of this blog is not to arouse more panic, but rather to encourage real estate agents to begin planning for the post-coronavirus reality. Yes, our work will be affected. But there are steps we can take to minimize the damage this pandemic will bring upon our businesses and our economy as a whole.