The times they are a-changing
Today, we are all experiencing uncharted waters, and I hope that you, your loved ones, friends and colleagues are safe and healthy as we all try to navigate the challenging times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m looking forward to the other side of this, as so many of us, hopefully, are doing everything possible and suggested in order to get there faster. We now have good time to take stock of what’s important in the world and stay close to home and loved ones.
In recent weeks, I have been regularly communicating with many market leaders and influencers and heads of companies that service our robust and ever-evolving industry. While it is spring and typically the busiest time in our industry, everyone is concerned with what matters most; all of the lives at stake, which, for the first time in history involves everyone across the globe. Sales centres became appointment-based in days; most evolved into non-contact places shortly after. Everything is available online: Images, materials, tours of sales centres and mechanisms for purchasing.
While our business remains enhanced by technology, the fundamental real estate transaction involving a customer and vendor remains something that has always been done in person. However, I’m proud to be part of an industry that has pivoted so responsibly and almost seamlessly in these unprecedented times. When the time is right, we will find that business continues; today, you likely can purchase at any project currently on the market in the city. However, many may not know that. Housing remains an essential service; forecasts historically have shown that we’re long on population but short on supply. This won’t change.
While a partial remedy for today’s health crisis, social distancing, will likely become part of a new norm going forward, cleanliness and keeping sanitary when in the public realm will undoubtedly continue. Crowding will be very different than what we have seen to date, and it will be our responsibility to ensure we make every effort to maintain a safe environment for homebuyers and sales agents. Expect this to be part of the new norm when sales offices reopen.
I am enjoying Zoom meetings these days, and finding that meetings and calls seem to be more productive than in the past. I’m also hearing this from others. Everyone has their thinking caps on. This moment in history provides an opportunity to focus and really think. As a potential buyer of a new home or condo, use this time to learn more about the market and the variety of projects that are out there. It is a particularly good time to talk one on one with people in a controlled and safe setting. And, it is a time to ask questions that you normally may not have time to ask at sales events. Remember, there are buying opportunities all over the city, and choices are plentiful and demand is high.
Developers and builders have adjusted their businesses admirably, and have made available all of the necessary information for those who want to be active in the market.
Soon, there will be more opportunities about new projects that will become available which will undoubtedly enhance our neighbourhoods and skylines throughout our city.
The times, they are a-changing. Use this period to prepare.
Mark Cohen is a founding partner of The Condo Store Marketing Systems, a firm specializing in the design, marketing and sales of condo and new home communities in and outside of the GTA.