REALTOR®, Kevo Properties
The Coronavirus had turned everything upside down (thankfully, though, we are not IN the upside down, I think) but along with all the craziness it has also created some benefits. This article is not meant to downplay the huge economic impact the virus has triggered or missed proms, graduations, birthday parties, and other social events the coronavirus has caused but to focus on the positives. Here are some that could stick around long after the virus is gone:
1. Improved Work/Life Balance
The virus may have shut down or slowed business for a bit but it forced most people to slow down and spend more time with family. For some it showed the importance of family and being around friendly faces (I missed seeing my grandparents, too!). For others it finally gave them time to complete projects around the house or simply sit down on the couch to binge watch shows or the entire Disney+ catalog. It has been heartwarming to see so many pictures and social media posts about regular home-cooked dinners and family walks in the neighborhood. In my case it was more eating than walking. When work did begin to pick up it seems that most people continued to spend more time with family and continue enjoying the slower pace of life. So many jobs that required employees to work “in the office” were proved to be just as productive working remote.
2. Low Mortgage Rates
When quarantine was first imposed and so many businesses began to temporarily close their doors, many REALTORS®, like myself, braced for a slow spring market. The drop in interest rates piqued the interest of home buyers who may have previously been on the fence. This quickly created a seller’s market and many multiple offer/highest and best situations. While this positive may not be able to stick around as the economy works to stabilize it was fun while it lasted!
3. Adaptability in Personal and Social Activities
As previously mentioned, our hearts go out to those who had to cancel plans, especially the students who were about to graduate, and those who were forced to quarantine alone. However, the quick thinking of some very creative people allowed for many celebrations to continue just in a different way. For those graduates, drive by parties, virtual graduation, and “2020 Grad” yard signs gave them some recognition of their accomplishments. Social Zoom calls have allowed families to see each other and share a few words during holidays and on birthdays while maintaining social distance. In order to stay afloat so many businesses quickly transitioned to the “grocery pick-up” style with customers calling in orders, driving to the store, and having their purchase loaded in their car. How convenient! As someone who has to look at every sale rack and browse every clearance isle it has saved me a lot of money.
4. Adaptability in Professional and Education Activities
So many employers had to quickly find a way to continue working while their employees maintained distance. Real estate was no different. Virtual tours are not a new concept but they were not widely used until now, at least not in the Central Oklahoma market. REALTORS® had to market homes in a way that maintained distance but did not discourage ‘serious’ home buyers. Recording a video walk-through of a new listing will almost certainly be a continued trend. Just like many desk jobs and schools real estate continuing education moved online. This changed has allowed for more people to participate in classes by hoping on their computer. The annual NAR Mid-year conference, normally held each may in Washington DC, was held virtually this year opening the event to thousands more REALTORS®. As someone who is very active in their association, I am grateful for all the meetings that have been able to take place online. In some cases it has made for shorter, more efficient meetings.
5. More Kindness
I saved the best for last. It has been amazing to see the kindness, understanding, and generosity that come from people during this pandemic. Delivering groceries to elderly neighbors, sewing masks for hospitals, and creating fun videos on social media to create laughter are a few examples we saw frequently. My favorite thing that has come from quarantine is the sympathy and understating that has spread just as fast as the virus. We are in the same storm but not necessarily in the same boat. Overnight the world became concerned for the health and well-being of their communities. I want to say there is a little more compassion here because of the Oklahoma Standard. Keep your distance, wear a mask, take care of yourself and others while we weather this storm together.