One Year Later: How the Pandemic Changed the Real Estate Industry

One Year Later: How the Pandemic Changed the Real Estate Industry

The last year certainly hasn’t been your average one. Thanks to the global pandemic, the world was basically flipped on its head. 

We couldn’t travel. We couldn’t see friends or family. And life as we knew it was changed forever.

As that new normal sunk in, the real estate world was forced to adapt and evolve.

For agents, it was a stressful year to say the least. But the industry took it in stride and actually had one of the most successful years in housing to date.

Here’s a quick recap of just some of the changes real estate agents had to deal with over the last 12 months

1. Virtual tours became the norm.

With everyone social distancing, in-person tours fell by the wayside, and virtual tours surged. Agents were (and still are) conducting tours by FaceTime, Skype, Zoom, and more.

2. Open houses were out.

Likewise, open houses weren’t really possible either. Again, agents leaned on tech for alternate solutions, which included things like Facebook live streams and virtual open houses via Zoom.

3. Networking got harder.

Countless conferences were canceled or moved online last year, making it harder than ever for agents to grow their network. Working from home — away from coworkers, colleagues, and partners — didn’t help either.

4. Listings became more important than ever.

Buyers have been starting their home searches online for a while, but this year, online listings reigned supreme. Agents pulled out all the stops with killer descriptions, photography, videos, drone footage, and 3D walkthroughs.

5. Agent’s homes became offices.

Many agents were forced to work from home for much of the last year, often while spouses and children did the same. They conducted listing presentations, held meetings, and prepped contracts — all from their bedrooms or kitchen tables.

6. Closings went remote and curbside.

Many lenders and title companies took this year as an opportunity to go more digital, enabling fully remote notarizations and e-closings. For those that didn’t go so far, they opted for other hands-off experiences — passing closing papers through car windows or delivering documents curbside.

What will stay and what will go?

Not all of these changes are permanent. While virtual tours and remote closings will likely stick around for the long haul, we will probably see things like open houses and conferences reemerge after the pandemic has finally ended. 

Want guidance for staying flexible and adapting until that day comes? Check out Embrace Home Loans’ agent resources now.

Share this:

Aly Yale

Aly J. Yale is a freelance writer focusing on real estate, mortgage, and the housing market. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Bankrate, The Motley Fool, Business Insider, The Balance, and more. Prior to freelancing, she served as an editor and reporter for The Dallas Morning News. She graduated from Texas Christian University's Bob Schieffer College of Communication with a major in radio-TV-film and news-editorial journalism. Connect with her at or on Twitter at @AlyJwriter.