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LACKIE: Home buyers, sellers in GTA rolling with pandemic punches

作者:admin 2020-05-24

There was something about the sudden arrival of this week’s glorious summer weather that really drove home for me just how abnormal life has become. With sunny days and barbecue weather upon us once again, comparison to summers past creeps in and it’s hard not to feel that the earth is completely off its axis.

Stranger still is the fact that, on the work front, I am busier than ever.

When the pandemic set in, just prior to the provincial shutdown, I had a listing mere days from coming on the market, and a handful of active buyers that I was working with. By March 15 all but one of my buyers had reached out to say that they wanted to stand down until further notice.

Frankly, I was relieved and not at all surprised. The financial implications of my business grinding to a halt aside, on a personal level, the absolute last thing I wanted was to be out in the big, scary, germy world armed only with hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes, having to power on as if everything was fine.

I wanted to be home with my family.

So I rolled with it. We approached the sale of our clients’ home in a way that felt sensible and safe, and were thrilled to facilitate a strong outcome for our sellers.

Throughout the process, I was continually shocked and amazed by the number of prospective buyers who were taking a global health crisis in stride and simply powering on, wanting to see properties like ours and negotiate offers. Unlike myself, they didn’t just want to be at home with their families — they had their sights set on new homes for their families.

A month later I am no longer shocked. Buyers are back. Demand is high. Inventory is low. A familiar equation if you have been following Toronto real estate.

Please don’t shoot the messenger.

People have spent the last 11 weeks at home with lots of time to consider if it’s where they want to be. Home is now to be office, school, restaurant and recreation facility for the foreseeable future.

And more than that, I think there are many among us who are not as financially impacted as one might think.

In spite of global economic uncertainty that is surely giving many pause, equally impactful seems to be the realization that we’re in this for the long haul. Whether you believe that this is the Beginning of the End, or rather, the End of the Beginning, the impact of three months of shutdown is now being realized.

I can already hear the angry comments.

No, this isn’t a case of a sleazebag agent insisting that no time is the wrong time to buy or sell. The real-estate industry responds to consumer demand, not the other way around. A realtor cannot manifest willing buyers and sellers out of thin air.

There are countless in our city who have been devastated by the economic impacts of COVID-19, and many still who will come out the other side completely fine. Inequity is uneven that way. Many Torontonians were already situated to weather this season without injury, while many others were not. This pandemic has really just shone a light on broader societal issues.

So would I encourage people to be buying or selling right now? No. Personally, I probably wouldn’t. The stakes are high enough that if you don’t need to be a making a move, it’s likely best to sit tight –- life is certainly stressful enough without adding a new front to the war.

That said, do I think that the industry has adapted to a level of practical functioning conducive to producing strong outcomes for buyers and sellers? I do. And so do my clients.

— Brynn Lackie is a second-generation Sales Representative with Chestnut Park Real Estate and has been helping her clients navigate the challenging Toronto market since 2011

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