Can you believe August is almost over?! Where has the time been going? It feels like summer just started, and now PSL season is almost here. Speaking of time flying, that’s actually what I want to talk about this week. How these last 2 years have slipped by is definitely amazing to me. What amazes me the most is how much my work life – and my ability to balance my work and life – have changed over the past 2 years. We’re going to talk about how the real estate industry is changing during the Covid pandemic.
Prior to 2020, I probably spent more than half of my life in my car and on the road. Between being ‘Uber Mom’ to my kids, to showings, to offers and negotiations, I didn’t really appreciate exactly how much of my life was spent driving places to do things that really didn’t need to be done in person. But, the real estate industry is often resistant to change, and you do have to do to be successful.
I Spent How Much Time in My Car?!
Then, last week, I sat down and crunched numbers. That’s when I realized that – since Covid-19 – I have managed to cut out nearly TWENTY HOURS A WEEK from my weekly time in my car.
Let me repeat for emphasis. TWENTY. HOURS. A. WEEK.
Let me tell you this. As a working professional single mom raising three wonderful kids, twenty hours that I’m not driving all over the GTA and beyond is time that I have gotten to invest back into them – and in myself. For someone as interested in finding a good work-life balance as I am, regaining twenty hours a week is life-changing!
So, how did this happen? It happened by the real estate industry being presented with circumstances that flat-out REQUIRED the industry as a whole to modernize. The biggest change – which is beneficial to brand new agents as much as my seasoned veteran colleagues – is the role digitalization has played in bring real estate out of the technological dark ages of the 20th Century. This is the most important way that the real estate industry is changing.
To start, this has officially brought about the death of the fax machine in real estate. In 2021. Something previously thought unimaginable as recently as February 2020. Do you know how much my blood pressure would rise when someone asked me to fax them something? Hello, I don’t have a time machine. And if I did, I wouldn’t use it to go back to 1987 to locate and use a fax machine. A digital image of a signed document does not become less legitimate because it was captured by my iPhone, and not by a printer with a phone and a waffle iron attached. That document isn’t legitimized by that horrible screeching mid-1990s dial up noise that accompanies a fax.
So, What Does it All Mean?
Simply put: the real estate industry is changing, and that change was LONG overdue. Covid-19 literally said ‘adapt or perish’. And adapt we are!
Not just that, one of my biggest concerns has always been the STAGGERING amounts of paper real estate uses. Previously, I could be walking around with as much as 20-25 pounds of paper on any given day between contracts, offers and agent papers. We’re now well on our way to becoming a paperless industry, which is good because every time you buy a home, a forest somewhere in British Columbia is about to have a very bad day.
And eSignatures. Oh. My. God. ESIGNATURES! Gone are the days where I would have to drag myself to all corners of the GTA to courier all that paper to people just so they could spend about 5 minutes putting ink on it. Now, I send them the documents digitally, they sign them digitally, they return them digitally, and Sarah’s mood for the day is no longer contingent on traffic and driving time. Payments are now being done by digital bank transfers and direct deposits more often, which is a HUGE timesaver – especially for buyers in competitive bidding wars.
Not just that, now technology is evolving to give buyers even more digital access to property listings. Going beyond 2-dimensional pictures, software like Matterport allows me to bring listings to life in ways that simply wasn’t possible before.
The Great Equalizer
And – for my agents – probably the biggest change is the de-prioritaization of occupying physical space the same way. This means that new agents can save money on often costly desk fees which they can invest right back into marketing and outreach. Digitalization has literally become ‘the great equalizer’ which gives young and/or technologically-savvy agents an advantage they simply didn’t have before.
But the part that digitalization is changing I want to stress the most is, as I began with, the huge reduction in car time. I’m home safe with my babies (I don’t care how old they are, they’re my babies) instead of meeting strangers in other people’s homes all hours of the day and night, I’m not out on back roads late at night, and I’m not feeling like I can declare my car as a secondary mailing address.
That’s twenty hours of my week I can now invest right back in to them, and in myself.
How Could This Benefit You?
The benefits to my professional career are matched only by the benefits to my personal mental health and physical well-being. While the world has changed a lot over the last 2 years, I feel almost guilty in saying that my quality of life has improved – and I have digitalization and drastic changes to how the real estate industry does business to thank.
This is a new day for real estate professionals, but not just that, this is the best opportunity in a generation for people interested in finding a better work-life balance to transition into an industry that can be very good to creative, personable and technologically-savvy people.
Want to hear more? Let’s Talk!