According to the numbers, April's real estate sales in Cochrane are down 55% to this time last year. Of course, this is due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Debbie Leah a local realtor with Royal LePage remains optimistic despite the menacing cloud of COVID 19 hanging overhead. She is still working, still has listings, and still showing homes. The biggest changes are with the way listings are shown and who is buying. Leah says that those who are buying right now are in need of a house. "We have been noticing the people that have been coming to look at homes are definitely very serious buyers. These are buyers who have a possession date in mind and they need to move."
As for the changes in showing homes, the sellers are asked to leave the lights on and closet and cupboard doors open so people aren't touching anything. All realtors are wearing masks. Leah says she has a purse she carries in her car which she calls the COVID purse. In it, she keeps masks, wipes, hand sanitizer, rubber gloves. She laughs, "It might look a little sketchy if I ever get stopped by the police!"
Leah says she is excited about the use of virtual tours and had been providing a video of listings prior to the pandemic. She feels the virtual tours of the realtor walking with their phone literally giving a tour is a useful tool. There are even live streaming tours where the realtor is able to answer the buyer's questions in real-time. Debbie feels it is a tool that will continue to be used after the pandemic. "It gives people a good idea of what the home feels like as you walk through it." She wouldn't be surprised if virtual tours eventually replace the traditional open house.
One thing that wasn't disrupted for realtors was working from home as most do that already to a certain extent.
"I don't expect anything to change on May 14 (the estimated date of the beginning of Phase 1 in the relaunch strategy) for realtors at all. We have been carrying on with altered business as usual." Leah feels that the pandemic has basically stalled the market. Things were going along really well in the first couple of months of the year before the world was brought to a halt by COVID 19. She says, "Instead of having our typical very busy spring market, it's going to be spring in the summertime. I think we are going to have a slow start but I think we are going to have a really busy fall." Hopefully, Debbie Leah is right.
To visit Debbie's website click here.