Lessons Learned by a REALTOR® During the COVID-19 Pandemic

TORONTO, October 5, 2021

As we move into what we hope is the back end of this pandemic, we all share a new reality where what is “normal” has changed.

Throughout the past 18 months, we experienced transformation in our daily activities, from grocery shopping to working dynamics, to the way we do business.

Our basic way of living was impacted, and it forced us to question whether our current surroundings and home settings could now meet our needs for living and working. While some had been thinking about a change for a while, others needed more time to do research on their ideal home. The COVID-19 pandemic offered us that time and perspective.

As REALTORS®, change came in the shape of virtual counselling. Virtual tours and electronic signatures became some of the words we used the most in our new day-to-day and became a positive addition to our “toolbox”. These tools became more important than ever before and propelled our business into what is now the new “normal” way to support buyers/sellers and help them trust in our counsel moving forward.

When consumers decide to move, they’re still going to engage the services of a professional real estate agent to guide them through the process of buying or selling a property. Now the service will include a combination of virtual and physical tools.

Resiliency and communication

REALTORS® are resilient by nature. During the pandemic, our roster of real estate professionals had to quickly learn how to use different methods and vehicles to promote themselves and their listings.

We quickly learned how to use virtual tools for showings, open houses and paperwork. The pandemic accelerated changes already happening in the industry.

Beyond the pandemic, most of these tools will remain as the preferred option for consumers, as they save time and facilitate the way to do business. For example, signing paperwork in person was both not safe (from a public health perspective during the pandemic) and not environmentally friendly, so this was a win on both fronts.

It’s a competitive advantage to stay up-to-date on technology and continue growing our portfolio of solutions to better meet the needs of our clients. Our teams became creative out of necessity, following the proverb that the best ideas are created on the edge of chaos, which is what the pandemic prompted us to do.

The biggest discovery from the pandemic is how resilient REALTORS® are when change is imposed. If you don’t change, you don’t grow, and you don’t get to evolve to survive in the new after-COVID-19 sense of ‘normal’.

In-person advice became ‘the cherry on top’

Despite these new virtual solutions, real estate will always be a person-to-person business. In-person engagement with our clients is paramount in building trust and rapport, but we have an untapped resource now to offer alternatives to our clients who wish to engage with us differently.

Expanding our scope of how we interact with our clients in ways that suit their wants and needs, is vital to our business and our future.

The pandemic enabled us to be more strategic in the way we set our agendas and more efficient in multi-tasking from our electronic devices, but the ‘cherry on top’ will always be that moment when you shake hands (or bump elbows) and deliver the keys to a new home—COVID-19 can’t take that away from us or our clients!

SOURCE: CREA Café (Canadian Real Estate Association)

By: Scott MacPherson, VP Professional Development – Right at Home Realty, Brokerage

Scott MacPherson is the Vice President of Professional Development at Right at Home Realty. Scott’s career has been focused on training, and for the past 20 years, he’s specialized in adult learning and soft skills training. Before entering into real estate, Scott was the manager of training, communications and change management for a major department store retailer with more than 200 stores across Canada. Scott attained his real estate license more than six years ago and worked as the director of training for three affiliated real estate companies in both Canada and the United States. Scott now leads the Right at Home Academy, which provides relevant, high-impact, in-house training to its members.