The New Normal in Commercial Real Estate
Nothing in the recent past has disrupted lives the way COVID-19 has. Things are not the way they used to be; almost everything has changed. We have a new normal as we try to keep the infections at bay, and commercial real estate is no different. It is struggling to survive at a time when interactions are limited, and social distancing is defining how things are done.
Remote working is becoming entrenched in most industries, with people opting to work at home. Commercial real estate experts predict that this may have a great impact on the sector, as it may eventually reduce the demand for properties. However, they see remote working as only a temporarily solution, and workers will troop back to their workstations once the situation improves.
COVID-Ready Commercial Properties
So, it is not all gloom and doom for the commercial real estate owners, as demand is expected to rise. Experts advise sellers to take this time, when properties may be unoccupied, to make some changes that will make them COVID-ready. Making your property COVID-ready get tenants sooner than expected, as new searches will be focusing on commercial building that can allow people to adhere to social and physical distancing and at the same time keep productivity high.
Terry Coyne, a commercial real estate expert and the vice chairman of the Newmark Knight Frank in Cleveland, notes that buildings restructured to keep the Corona Virus at bay will be in high demand. He sees UV light and HVAC systems, which provide higher humidity as some of other installations, will be needed to make buildings COVID-19 ready.
Good Deal for Buyers
It may not be rosy for some sellers, but experts are of the opinion that the way one handles the situation will determine the performance in the post COVID-19 restriction period. For buyers, a slowdown may actually be a good thing, as the low property demand may actually give them an opportunity to get a better deal. Buyers who may have been looking for property in a certain location in Cleveland, and the larger area, are now presented with a golden opportunity. Experts say it is a win-win situation for both sellers and buyers—sellers have an opportunity to improve their properties and fetch a good price at a time when sales are low, while buyers will get buildings in preferred locations at favorable prices.
Real estate marketing is an aspect of the real estate industry that has really been impacted by COVID 19. With social distancing and other measures that have been taken to reduce the spread of infection, physical property tours are almost impossible. Virtual tours, although having been long with us, have become increasingly useful for buyers and sellers alike. Without having to visit the property physically, virtual tours allow the buyers to tour the commercial property, viewing all the important aspects in real time and at a safe distance. Upon satisfaction, parties can proceed with transactions without physically meeting. Online marketing, as Terry Coyne puts it, has become the true force of real estate business. The fact that it comes with more details about the property in question, allows the buyer to make a more informed decision. At a period where information is readily available, the issue has now shifted to understanding the information and making real sense of it. Terry sees online marketing as the future of real estate, and any realtor, buyer or seller who is not utilizing this platform, especially during this pandemic, may be missing a considerable bit and denying themselves a chance to make an excellent deal.
Technology is playing a great role in the new normal. Right from the installation of systems that will make commercial properties corona virus free to the use of virtual tours to view properties—it will be at the center of transactions with all parties encouraged to utilize it, both for efficiency purposes as well as keeping the pandemic at bay. Terry predicts that robotics and artificial intelligence in general will play a great role, adding that we are headed for interesting times where human interactions may reduce even more in an attempt to control the situation. With the development of the vaccines as mitigation measures, experts observe that the situation may improve, but some of the changes, such as virtual tours and online marketing, that have been adopted may become permanent.
Commercial real estate may have been greatly impacted by the pandemic; however, as restrictions are eased, and people are getting used to the new normal, there is hope that it will pick again. The impact may be heavy, but experts are optimistic that there are silver linings, and each of the parties can take advantage and come out on top with a win-win situation. With no near end of this pandemic, adapting to the new normal will make all the difference.