— We take our content seriously. This article was written by a real person at BREL.

In our continuing series sharing our 20 Real Estate Trends and Predictions in 2020, today we’re looking at how we think the consumer experience – the process of buying and selling a home – will change. 

#1: Better Access to Sold Price Data 

While consumers have had access to sold price data via third-party websites that they login into for the last year, I predict (and hope) that 2020 will be the year that Toronto REALTORS will have the ability to share that information with the tools we already use with our buyers and sellers. “Collab”, introduced a few years ago, is a property search platform that GTA realtors use with their clients, which provides access to 100% of the properties available for sale and allows a buyer to control their property search. In 2020, I predict GTA buyers will be able to search sold price info right from Collab, at the same time as they are searching for properties for sale. 

#2: Improved Property Search with Zillow and REALTOR.ca

When Zillow came to Canada in 2019, it was met with huge resistance from many of the big brokerages in Toronto, who refused to share their listings with the property search giant. In 2020, I predict some of these brokerages will put the needs of their buyers and sellers above their own and begin sharing their listing data with Zillow. I also predict (and hope) that the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the owners of the realtor.ca website, will overhaul the site for usability and design. It’s already the number one search site in Canada – but it’s in desperate need of modernization. 

Related: Zillow for REALTORS: Friend or Foe?

#3: Greater Convenience for Buyers & Sellers When Making Offers

The process of buying or selling a house in Ontario is still pretty archaic. Despite electronic signatures being legal here since 2015, many agents still default to paper and faxes and physical certified deposit cheques are still a big part of the process. I predict that 2020 will be the year that electronic signatures get fully adopted (finally). I also predict we’ll see more Toronto brokerages embrace electronic funds transfers (EFT’s) for buyer deposits. Bspoke Realty (that’s us) was one of the first brokerages in Toronto to move to EFT deposits last year and it was one of the most convenient things we did (for buyers and for us).  

#4: Professional Staging Becomes the Norm for Sellers

Professional staging has long-been a smart strategy for Toronto Sellers who want to maximize their sales price and reduce how long it takes to sell their home. Professionally staged homes attract more attention online and allow Buyers to emotionally connect with a home during a showing – and that means staged homes sell for more money. While many of Toronto’s big real estate teams already include staging as part of their services and commission (including us!) I predict that 2020 will be the year that staging becomes a standard offering from most REALTORS, just like photography, marketing and contract negotiations. It just makes sense. 

Related: A Home Staging FAQ

#5: REALTORS Finally Figure Out Digital Marketing and Branding – and Sellers Rejoice

While I may never understand why so many real estate agents are still so bad at marketing, I’m hoping that 2020 will be the year they figure out (or hire professionals to do it). It’s time for HDR photography on every listing; professionally designed feature sheets and collateral materials; agent websites that actually get traffic; email marketing that isn’t spam and social media posts that add value. I’m also hoping it’s the year that REALTORS stop putting their photo on all their marketing and take a break from filling up our mailboxes with a million postcards. And no more comic sans font – please! 

Related: If you’re a REALTOR and want to up your marketing game in 2020, head on over to our Bspoke blog, where we share marketing and sales best practices every week. 

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