(May 11, 2020)
As I write this, I’ve decided that life (and real estate) is best seen, these days, as a series of 4 phases:
- There was Life Before Coronavirus (which I didn’t appreciate enough)
- There was the Great Pause (it was HARD)
- There’s the New Normal (I think we’re here now)
- And later, there’ll be Life After a Vaccine
As the Ontario economy begins to slowly re-open today, the New Normal will challenge each and every one of us to accept things we never could have imagined just a few months ago.
A lot of the hard realities of a COVID-19 world are expected to continue in the New Normal: physical distancing, bans on big gatherings like festivals and concerts, travel restrictions and personal protective equipment (PPE) as part of our daily lives. These new requirements and restrictions will likely be with us until there’s a widely-available vaccine or miracle treatment.
But I can see a lot of ‘good’ in the New Normal too. In many ways, the virus propelled us 10 years into the future, as companies and entire industries were forced to pivot and adapt at a breakneck pace:
- Businesses transformed: ‘Mom-and-Pop’ shops brought their products and services online; business models changed; companies started connecting personally with their clients virtually on Zoom; electronic signatures became widely accepted; rules and entrenched processes were irrevocably changed and traditional businesses (finally) embraced digital marketing.
- Workplaces adapted: Professional workplaces were transformed for the work-from-home employee: new IT infrastructures were built to support remote workforces, managers found new ways to train, communicate, manage performance and build culture with their at-home employees; work and life meshed in ways we never could have predicted.
- Life changed: Schools, colleges and universities moved learning online, family and friends connected virtually and we all learned to make sourdough bread.
What were once slow-moving trends are now the norm.
Our homes took on new importance in our lives too, as our four walls quite literally became our safe spaces. Whether condo or house, in the city or suburbs, our homes assumed the roles of workplaces for the adults and schools for the kids; they served as our cafes, our restaurants, our movie theatres, and the places where we recovered if we got sick.
COVID-19 forced us to re-examine our relationships and the people we live with – spouses, kids, parents, roommates, and pets – and how we live together. And as we spent quarantine days decluttering and reorganizing our homes, we looked at the things we live with, and how they add or subtract from our joy.
Perhaps above all else, this pandemic has triggered an overwhelming need to feel safe and secure, physically, financially and mentally.
There is no going back to before. The New Normal is here.
Every day this week, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the New Normal as it relates to real estate. We’ll look at Unpausing the Toronto Real Estate Market, How to Buy and Sell a Home During Coronavirus and how the BREL team can help.
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