How Will COVID-19 Change Real Estate Practices?

COVID-19 has proven itself to be a party crasher not willing to leave until it’s made a big enough mess. While the total economic effect of the Coronavirus is still unknown o ne of the potential positive outcomes are more flexible, experimental, and technologically savvy businesses. Real estate, viewed as reliant on paperwork, showings, and a personalized approach is also starting to change practices as a result of the pandemic.

Virtual Tours and listing videos are replacing showings, and there has been a huge jump in Online Signing with some lawyers talking about online ID verification for buyers and sellers and causing pressure in the United States for federal legislation to allow transactions to be signed off on remotely.

Changing/Appealing Interest Rates

While the situation is in constant flux, currently low mortgage rates are helping to make this a buyers market.

It is possible for qualified buyers to get a five-year fixed rate for below 2.5 % and variable rates below 2%.

It should be stated that this is likely to shift. Canada’s large hospitality industry has already faced massive lay-offs, with other industries starting to make similar moves this week. A possible recession will see banks facing higher funding costs and increased likelihood of loan losses.

Online Signing Methods

Already in use by many agents, many more will now be moving to electronic signing methods. There are a variety of options available. The well known DocuSign claims “2.5 million real estate transactions are closed”.

The Pandemic may lead to some fast federal policy changes in countries. Currently in the U.S., for example, there are twenty-three states which already have remote online notarization policies. But that leaves the majority (twenty-seven) unable to close a real estate transaction without in-person signing.

As the needs of individuals and industry rapidly shift hopefully governments can shift in time to meet those needs.

Technology: The Importance of the 360° Virtual Tour

With many buyers unable to leave their homes to go to showings the importance of having a virtual tour option has never been greater.

Platforms have seen the number of 3D home tours being created surge by triple digit percentages.

We are fortunate to live in a technological age that would allow for affordable virtual walkthroughs to be available for agents to set-up and buyers to view.

Offering virtual tours is essentially offering a permanent open house to people. Visitors can explore all the rooms and spaces in the house without having to venture outside.

It is likely those using virtual tours as a result of COVID 19 will continue to do so. There are many long term advantages to virtual tours; they grab attention, drive traffic to websites, are easy to share, and save time and money.

Your Online Presence

It has never been more important for real estate agents to have a strong online presence. The options available to leverage technologies to make marketing and sales seamless and affordable may prove to be the tools needed to weather the storm.

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  1. Coronavirus: What will happen to Canada’s housing market amid the pandemic?-Global News
  2. 3D tours, remote signings: How coronavirus is changing homebuying this spring-USA Today
  3. Why Virtual Tours Are Important In Real Estate
  4. How Canadian Real Estate Can Continue During Coronavirus- remax

Originally published at on March 31, 2020.

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