The real estate industry, like many others out there, suffered a massive blow when COVID entered our worlds earlier this year. And it wasn’t just one central thing that became an issue.
For instance, a good portion of people recently surveyed who bought a house after March of 2020 said that they regretted taking out a mortgage.
There were also fewer buyers and sellers as a result of COVID’s life-changing ways. Sellers didn’t want to list their properties as they didn’t want strangers entering their place with their health status being largely unknown.
Stay-at-home orders and health concerns forced many buyers to not go and see what’s out there due to their own fears during this pandemic.
This appears to be somewhat of a replica of the 2007-2009 housing crisis especially from a financial point of view. Homeowners are struggling to make their mortgage payments due to the high unemployment rates that have happened as a result of COVID.
Realtors have also experienced massive issues that have affected their jobs greatly. For instance, ones in British Columbia were just asked to halt their open houses as COVID numbers are spiking again. Their might even be a second lockdown as a result which could only mean worsening things for them as we approach 2021.
So what can we expect from the real estate market in the near future and is it a smart idea to consider becoming a realtor with all of these issues in the way?
We spoke to openigloo’s CEO Allia Mohamed about all of this where she gave her honest take on COVID’s past, present, and future in the world of real estate.
What was the biggest peak and pit of the real estate world during COVID?
It depends on where you are and what your business is. Sales agents were busy as many people looked to buy homes in the suburbs and leave big cities. For example, home prices in Long Island continue to climb, while rent prices decline in cities like New York and San Francisco. There are lots of landlords not making as much money as they once were.
Was there any preparation made ahead of time before it became a real issue stateside?
No one was prepared or could have predicted the impact COVID-19 would have on the real estate market. However, the response to COVID-19 has varied. Landlords and realtors have gotten creative to attract buyers and renters alike. Some are offering rent concessions, while other buildings are gifting Pelotons in exchange for 2-year leases. As vacancies climb in cities like New York, it has become a renters market.
What do you find has been the biggest stressor realtors have been dealing with?
It depends on where and what kind of realtor you are. If you are a sales agent on Long Island, you’ve been busy. If you’re a rental agent in NYC, the business has been slow. If you’re a commercial agent, then you’re at a standstill. Generally, a big stressor across the board is uncertainty, and clients are feeling it too.
Do you think things will shift greatly for them in the positive in the upcoming year?
I am confident the real-estate market will return to “normal” over time, but how people buy and rent will change. Renters will have more demands from their buildings and landlords. They’ll want to know if a building implemented safety measures because of COVID-19 or if the landlord offered discounts when amenities closed. Realtors will have to find ways to answer these questions for their clients, and that’s where they can leverage a platform like openigloo.
So many people are thinking about switching careers as a result of COVID. Do you think it’s wise to become a realtor right now?
Realtors do great work, and the job of helping a client navigate the world of buying, selling, or renting is no easy task. However, technology is making this process easier, and over time automation will transform the role realtors play in the process.