The long goodbye for most of the methods of yesteryear is finally over.
Last year, I wrote a column about significant changes the real estate process had undergone over the last thirty years, while noting that rate of change would most likely continue to accelerate in the future:
Real estate keeps changing right along with everything else. Best practices in today’s real estate don’t look anything like they did three decades ago when I first started. They don’t even look much like they did six or seven years ago when the market was just re-emerging from the long troubled sleep of the Great Recession.
The digital world is changing the real estate process in increasingly profound ways and with increasing speed. And it’s important for Realtors to continue questioning their own assumptions about what works and what doesn’t. What’s relevant and what’s not. Otherwise, they’re likely to get stuck on automatic pilot doing the same old same old things that are no longer effective.
I listed some of the older traditions of the analogue era that were becoming less relevant in the brave new world of digital real estate including: agents driving buyers around to look at houses, placing open house signs, holding brokers open houses, using listing brochure boxes, handing out printed flyers and advertising in monthly color magazines.
That wasn’t that long ago but little did I know that the coronavirus was right around the corner and that by the end of May, 2020 I’d have to amend my statement to say: “Real estate keeps changing right along with everything else. Best practices in today’s real estate don’t look anything like they did a mere three months ago.”
Heading into the summer of 2020, the arrival of COVID-19 has hastened the end of all those old traditions : Agents driving buyers around to tour properties violates health protocols. There are no open house signs because there are no open houses – brokers or public. Listing brochures, flyers and handouts of any kind are now considered vectors rather than instruments of mass marketing. And it is doubtful that many/any of those color magazines will make it much farther. (Look around in today’s paper and count how many real estate ads there aren’t.)
The long goodbye for most of the methods of yesteryear is finally over. Real estate has officially jumped the digital divide and crossed over the rubicon. For better or for worse, there’s no turning back. All buyers, sellers and agents can do now is glove-up, strap on their n95 masks and race ahead.
Next Week: More about the Brave New World of Real Estate