April, 2020

Pandemic Realtor

If we are fortunate enough in these times to be watching the virus from the sidelines in good health, with no loved ones ill and still able to buy groceries, we are confronted with the question of how to help.

Realtors stand on in-between land.  We stay home. We do what we can for others. Then we get a call from a client with a sudden need, either a place to live or a need to sell. So, we go out wearing masks and gloves. We are players in the exchange and provision of one of the basic human essentials: a home.

People move for all sorts of reasons and these are powerful life events: birth and death, marriage and divorce, health and disability, new employment and unemployment, financial changes and the challenges of old age. A good realtor recognizes she’s privileged to be involved in these important and often emotional transitions.

Today, buying and selling real estate also requires masks and gloves and health questionnaires. Disinfectant is spread liberally on keys, houses and cars.  Virtual viewings and purchaser drive-bys are first steps. Documents are signed electronically and discussed by video call. The banks are grinding their gears and mortgages need to be approved and re-approved. There is a colossal unknown and the best economists are in a quandary.

 Yet, Toronto real estate is still moving – because people are always moving. Since about March the total number of transactions are down. Way down. Showings are down. Listings are down. And yet, from last week action is  up 146%. Prices are a more complicated story and worth a conversation for specifics.  How long will all this uncertainty last? We all see the news – this is going to go on for a while.

  In this period of COVID-19 my colleagues follow protocols. We discuss what is possible and what is socially responsible? I’m heartened by the collective concern to do well and properly for clients, and an eye to society as a whole. It’s best to stay home, but If you need to talk about real estate now, don’t worry. There are many good citizen realtors.

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