Why Real Estate Is Considered An “Essential Service” During Pandemic
Traditional open houses seem to have disappeared like a handshake these days. You remember what it was, but most of us still wouldn’t do either one today. The pandemic has changed our world, and real estate is no exception. Some online comments have questioned why real estate is considered an “essential service” by our Federal government, and I wanted to take a moment to explain why.
Real estate is an essential service for several reasons. Its goal is to provide solutions for people facing certain challenges in their lives. It is important to recognize that we have several clients who have bought or sold homes during this health crisis, and it is imperative that agents can ensure that clients are represented properly – whether it is helping them find a lawyer or notary who can work with someone who is in self-quarantine, or ensuring that their home purchase is approved by the lender (which can be difficult for many people to even get through to their bank right now). I thought it would be best to provide some real-life examples as to why real estate plays such an integral role in our lives, even during the difficult times.
- People love to retire on Vancouver Island. However, imagine an elderly couple who require daily assistance with meals and medication moving into a senior care facility, and then putting their home on the market so that they can afford this necessary lifestyle change. Without the sale of their home, they simply cannot afford the thousands of dollars each month charged by the retirement home.
- Job change is a part of life. Imagine taking that promotion within a company that requires you to move your family to another city, and as a result, you need to buy a home for them to live. You may be traveling across the country and have a firm deadline for when your job begins, so you must find a home within a specific time frame. You may be weighing the pros and cons of either buying a home or rental until you are established, and may require our McCullough Team’s services or the help of the RE/MAX of Nanaimo rental department.
- The loss of a partner may create immense hardship for a family. There may not be any insurance or “rainy day” money available to even pay for funeral costs, and the wife has been a stay-at-home parent for several years to raise their young children. The only asset that is available for living expenses is the family home, which needs to be sold to cover existing debt and enable a mom and children to find accommodation that they can afford to rent while they get back on their feet.
- A sudden medical diagnosis for a child may create a great deal of emotional and financial stress, and so it may be necessary to consider selling the home so that the family can relocate closer to a larger city that offers specialized pediatric care as soon as possible.
- A family has been building their dream home and are set to move within a few weeks. They have chosen to live in their current home until their new home is ready, rather than try to sell their home and then find a rental as it was more money to rent than continuing paying their mortgage. They cannot afford to own two homes and need to sell their current home now.
- A couple has filed for divorce and the only asset they have is their primary residence. Both have moved out of the home so that showings can go ahead anytime and encourage a faster sale. Neither party can afford to buy the other out of the home, so it is critical to both parties that the home is sold and the divorce can be done, allowing them to no longer have any ties to each other’s credit scores or financial obligations.
- A small business faces huge increases in their storefront rent, so they need to find another commercial space to lease within the next month or face their business shutting down. This is stressful as the business provides health care products. The current landlord has plans in place for the existing space and refuses to work with the tenant – even though they have never once been late on their rent.
These are just a few of the stories that real estate professionals hear on a weekly basis. Although TV and social media would prefer to create an image of a realtor as being some multi-millionaire who lives in penthouse in LA and has a dog with its own detached bachelor pad, this is not reality. As someone who has worked in real estate for over 40 years, I can say that I have dealt with countless deaths, divorces, job losses, relocation, and other stressful milestones. It seems bizarre to think that I have sold real estate during 9/11, SARS, several recessions, wars and military actions, and even before the Internet even existed. Yep, even before the Internet.
Housing is a basic need. In a nutshell, that is why real estate is considered an essential service. It isn’t about being the #1 team or agent, but it is about providing service, expertise and assistance to those requiring housing, even during difficult times. It is helping those who need it most, and ensuring that we are there to help our community to remain strong and always stand together.