The Pandemic Transition Era

All new Era’s begin with an initial transition period. Call that today. We suddenly live in a post-pandemic world that has yet to figure out how we will live within toxic viral environments going forward. Remember how Atlanta used to get a good snowfall every 3 years or so? Fans of the weather channel will tell you, hotter planet temperatures, rising sea levels, uncontrolled wildfires, deadlier hurricanes and crazier tornados are all pointing to new and improved forms of viruses. Any reason to think this won’t happen every three years or so?

True, life will never be the same, but it’s hardly ending. So, grab a beer and enter the world of wonder. As in, I wonder what this pandemic means to me as a real estate agent. Know this: the summer will be bad. But, sales will come back, and when they do, things may look very different.

The Pandemic Effect will be:

Proficiency in Technology—Agents going forward NEED to be technology driven. As the human element of sales declines, the electronic element must increase. Agents need to be conversant on as many platforms as possible and continually embrace the new. Agent success may very well hang on their ability to present themselves electronically. 

New Technology—We don’t know what form it will take, but you know new technology and applications are coming. Every societal gut-punch in the past has been immediately met with innovation. No reason to think it won’t happen here.

Retirements—Prior to the Pandemic, the real estate industry was very “Boomer” heavy in terms of its agent demographics. (Average agent age: 54) As the industry becomes more technology driven, look for many Boomer agents to call it quits. 

The Franchise Funereal—I know, I have called for the demise of the national franchise for a decade. But this pandemic should really be the “final nail”. Especially in Atlanta where the majority of agents are NOT Realtors. Atlanta is loaded with local, independent “little r” Brokers. Agents need to save on their operating costs in down markets. Ditch the franchise, you can always go back—it’s not like they’ll ever say no. Save your money and stop sharing your commissions now!

Industry Mechanics—Many things we used to take for granted may disappear. The Open House comes to mind. The agent caravan? The realty “office”? New procedures will evolve; i.e. gloves and booties at the door. If fear is involved, you know capitalism will create a cottage industry to alleviate it. 

Online Closings—It’s ridiculous we still force in-person closings. GA is one of the only States in the Union that require an actual Attorney to conduct a closing. Most simply use Title Company employees. Lawyers set the rules to benefit them. We have had the technology for remote closings for over a decade. Still, the lawyers fight any change. Maybe, the pandemic will cause legal community to think of others?…. NAH!

But, if one lawyer ever figures it out, and actually separates from the herd—the rest will follow.

Video—Virtual tours will rise to another level. Used to be static jpeg images fading in and out was enough. HA! The virtual tours of tomorrow will look like Pixar productions in comparison. Splashy video with soundtracks and graphics. Guided tours of every upgrade or home repair. Landscaping and maintenance videos. Detail unimaginable a few months ago. Again, if the human element of the sales process abates, something must rise to take its place.

Silver Lining?

There really isn’t one. But, if I had to find one, it would be in the upcoming pandemic sales wave. What’s the pandemic sales wave?

We have all learned a new term: “shelter in place”. Turns out, what we used to think of as a snow day or a Netfilx weekend, is actually a life and death situation. As millions shelter in place, an equal number are asking themselves, “Is this the best place for me and family to ride out long term quarantines”?

I need more space. I have too much space. It’s too crowded here. It’s too rural here. When tens of millions of people all experience the same inconveniences at the same time, human nature tell us X percentage won’t be happy and will want a change. Considering a 100+ million people in the U.S. are going through this, whatever the X percentage of changers becomes—it will be very large. Our future will be very different from our past.

Pandemics are no longer just for Science Fiction fans. So, how pandemic-friendly is your life? How quarantine-ready is your home?

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