During the past year, the world has changed in ways nobody ever expected, and so has the way we buy and sell homes. 

With COVID-19 forcing nearly every major industry to adapt their way of doing business – real estate being no exception- 2020 has certainly been a year for the history books. 

Ultimately, the takeaway from this tumultuous year for real estate investors and homebuyers should be the durability of the housing market. Although some significant changes impacting the everyday dealings between REALTOR®s and their clients, the market didn’t skip a beat and agents are working harder than ever to get their clients the best deals possible in this new era of uncertainty.

As COVID-19 beset the world at its peak during the early months of spring 2020, REALTOR®s had to find new ways to market properties virtually. Prior to the pandemic, 90 percent of real estate-related searches already began online, so attracting buyers to online listings was no enormous feat, in theory. 

However, when it came to showing the properties to potential buyers, REALTOR®s were restricted by CDC guidelines. 

Virtual showings, which consisted of the agent walking through a property and providing a “tour” of its rooms and features to a client via video-conference, became the primary means of displaying a home.

The pandemic changed financial and personal circumstances for many homebuyers, causing some to pull out of the housing market altogether. Border closures and travel restrictions between Canada and the U.S. have caused many “Snowbirds” – retired Canadians who are known to spend their winters in homes purchased or rented in southern states with warmer climates – to sell their American properties for good.

Many hard-to-sell homes were left behind by flightless Snowbirds bound to their homeland, and were therefore often clustered in the same communities. But with few houses on the market overall, and with hard work behind the scenes from agents, finely-aged listings began to sell with multiple offers on the table. 

Creativity became an essential skill for REALTOR®s marketing properties virtually, especially when a listing would linger on the market for longer than expected. Video became a key component in an agent’s arsenal throughout the year, and developing compelling, inventive ways to market homes was crucial to staying ahead of the game.

After such a dismal year, you may expect the housing market to have plummeted in sales. On the contrary, the month of November saw an increase with only two months of inventory. 

 It’s hard to say what the market will look like going forward. COVID-19 has
presented us with an uneasy future, and with an impending vaccine rollout and
an end to the pandemic insight, it’s nearly impossible to guess what the next
six to 24 months will look like. 

In the midst of quarantines, fluctuating restrictions, and ever-changing advice from public health, REALTOR®s had to adapt to the challenges of COVID-19 fast in order to protect themselves and their clients. Within a year, an entire industry has been flipped on its head, and things may never return to the way they were before. 

The real estate industry, like many others, is fueled by innovation and persistence, and REALTOR®s worked hard to ensure the wheels didn’t stop turning when COVID-19 changed everything.