Real Estate, Fredericton & COVID-19

We have a message for COVID-19:

“It’s not us, it’s you. And we’re done.

We are done watching small businesses we love suffer and close over uncertainties of the future. We’re done letting you bully our thoughts and our conversations and our sleep patterns. Frankly, we’re done giving you a platform at all, because while we’re working incredibly hard to keep our distance and stay healthy, you’re making us all sick.”

Our industry — like everyone’s — has been challenged with something that it wasn’t prepared for. Conflicting messages and different interpretations of those messages has been confusing. Like many others, REALTORs® might be losing income for choosing to keep their families, clients, and community safe, and that’s hard. But the questions and uncertainties and the tangible threat of loss that homeowners are feeling, or from those of you that need to buy or sell for any number of reasons — that’s where we have a professional obligation to help.

“In short, we think now is the time to pivot.”

Now we aren’t health care professionals, and we aren’t on the front line of this in that sense of the word. The admiration, gratitude, and respect that these people are owed cannot be understated. With that, there are SO MANY other frontline workers that are literally keeping food on our tables; grocery store clerks and shelf stockers, truck drivers, drug store cashiers, and countless others…while we’re doing our duty to stay home and ordering groceries online, there is someone’s spouse / child / parent / friend on the other end who left their families to work their shift putting that order together. These guys don’t wear scrubs and they didn’t expect to become front line workers during a pandemic, but they’re doing it because society needs them to. And our HATS ARE OFF to every single one.

So where do REALTORs® fit in with all of this? Two weeks ago we, along with the rest of the country, settled in and discovered a new, unprecedented normal. Virtual showings and creative processes were created, with appropriate directives by NBREA to avoid conducting face to face real estate entirely, unless the situation was deemed urgent or essential. Our phone continued to ring and inquiries from worried buyers and sellers kept coming in. While the world was telling us to stay at home, our industry was (and is) telling us that they need us now, just in a different way than before.

So should Real Estate professionals only be willing to help during the good times, bury our heads in the sand during the bad, and come up for air as the market strengthens again? In short, we think now is the time to pivot.

While we aren’t economists, here’s what we think. It’s time we break up with the fear, toxicity of media and the weight of the grief that comes with it. In terms of what we can expect over the next few months and years…Real Estate is one of the most resilient industries there is. Just like the stock market, to look at your investments now versus 3 weeks ago might be scary but we can’t look at it over such a short term and draw conclusions from it.

Our inventory levels in Fredericton (and in most of Canada but we’ll speak to this from a local perspective) were at record lows prior to COVID-19, with listings down 14% YTD and prices up 14% YTD as of March 31st, 2020. There was — and still is from our experience over these past few weeks — a backlog of buyers wanting to enter the Real Estate industry, and the supply of inventory has only gotten lower with the onset of the virus. So while the market feels a bit frozen in time at the moment, we see this as a tough — but temporary — blow. We will all need to regroup and recover, but most importantly, rebound. Exceptionally low interest rates and deferred non-essential demand should strengthen our market. Like the stock market, it’ll just take some time.

While we aren’t economists, here’s what we think. It’s time we break up with the fear, toxicity of media and the weight of the grief that comes with it. In terms of what we can expect over the next few months and years…Real Estate is one of the most resilient industries there is. Just like the stock market, to look at your investments now versus 3 weeks ago might be scary but we can’t look at it over such a short term and draw conclusions from it.

So for now, we regroup. We’ve taken the last 3 weeks to identify our digital service gaps and to fill them. From drone and video, 3D virtual tours and critical Facetime tours, virtual staging services, online signature programs and conferencing software for staging and offer presentation, we’re poised and ready. We can — and will — list and help you buy using our virtual technology options available with no physical contact.

Here’s our plan:

Until the State of Emergency is done, we reiterate that no one should be listing their homes or buying without a truly urgent need, unless a virtual option will suffice. But we recognize that these needs still exist for some, not everyone is comfortable buying virtually, and the alternative of not having safe housing or the ownership of a home being a stressful financial burden is not ok either. We have adapted our processes and RIGHT NOW, while buying or selling might look different than it used to, we’re here. Abundantly cautious, AND here. We can be both.

And once the state of emergency lifts, we will move safely and cautiously towards helping those of you who don’t fall under the category of “urgent”. Better than ever with new digital processes in place to help keep us all safe and minimize face-to-face interaction, while still being able to accommodate your needs and protect your investment. All while offering the service you’ve come to expect from us, just EVEN TECHIER.

Here’s to our emotional and physical health, our homes which are not only our greatest investments but which house our most precious cargo, and HOPE for a bountiful rebound following a temporary lull, after the strongest market our city has ever seen. We are in this with you!!

Virtual hugs, xo

The Syroid Group of Gardiner Realty, Royal LePage Fredericton NB

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