LACKIE: Think twice before betting against the real estate market – Toronto Sun

The strength and fortitude of buyers and sellers of real estate throughout the pandemic has been astounding

Author of the article:

Brynn Lackie

Real estate sales in Toronto aren't going down, despite the pandemic.
Real estate sales in Toronto aren’t going down, despite the pandemic. Photo by Files /Submitted

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It seems safe to assume we will be analyzing the long-term collateral effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for years to come.

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Some days it feels like truly every facet of our lives has shifted. From the heightened sense of gratitude for the simple luxuries we once took for granted — hello, dropping kids off at school and getting to luxuriously sip hot coffee while starting our workday, or being able to grab a casual drink with a friend in a bar — it’s clear that what may have once felt mundane is novel again.

For instance, I, Brynn Lackie, do hereby solemnly swear that I will never again complain about stressful holiday travel to see family. I will practically skip into every spin class. I will tip my servers, send thank-you notes to my kids’ teachers, and take delight in casual grocery shopping once again.

The past 18 months have certainly brought perspective. It has also shaken everything up. Particularly in most of our professional lives. How we do business, where we do business, and, in my world, real estate, the big stakes driving life’s big decisions.

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It’s early to make declarations about the long-term changes we’re sure to see in response to COVID, but if I had to bet, there are a few that are basically guaranteed.

Think twice before betting against the real estate market.

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When the lockdown first hit, it seemed incomprehensible that the market would continue. But it did. Buyers came out in droves, competing fiercely with one another and driving prices through the roof. Few could have predicted that — certainly not the prospective buyers who missed their moment in the early days of the lockdown, confident in the assumption that prices would come down. I can specifically think of more than a few I encountered who are kicking themselves today.

Think twice before betting against the strength and fortitude of buyers and sellers of real estate.

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Buyers barely missed a beat. The world shut down and they simply found themselves masks and gloves and asked when they could get into see properties they saw potential in. It was astounding.

Home should be a place you want to spend your time.

Whereas once a fabulous neighbourhood surrounding the home was enough to motivate a buyer, now people want their home to be enough. That tiny condo steps from great bars and restaurants looks a lot different after riding out several lockdowns. People are crystal clear on the value of pools, backyards and rec rooms for the kids to play, and a place to park the Peloton.

There is a craft to selling a home — the pandemic just made it more obvious while simultaneously raising the stakes.

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In spite of the frustrating misconception that all realtors are created equal and do little more than jam a sign on the lawn and wait to count their commission, the pandemic truly highlighted the extent to which expert market knowledge and intentional marketing dollars are the keys to success. Almost overnight the industry upped its game when it came to showing protocols and digital marketing, an emphasis that was long overdue and is certainly here to stay.

As the market had powered along on its upward ascent, there have been little blips and seizes here and there, specific to sectors (the condo market last fall, for example), or marketplaces (the secondary markets serving recreational properties, for one) or moments (school closures, the gloomy days of winter, enthusiasm about reopening). While a banner year, it’s not been an unchallenging one, and the value of an expert who closely follows and understands the market can mean success or failure, forever and always, not just in these challenging times. Your agent can and should be a relentless student of the market — your specific market.

It shouldn’t have taken a global pandemic to show us this, but it certainly did to prove it.

In the weeks and months ahead, life will hopefully begin to return to some normalcy. And while I absolutely cannot wait for some lightness to return to our everyday, I hope we don’t lose some of the clarity we have gained along the way.


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