2020 started as an unusually busy year both on the Eastern Shore and the country. And then the virus hit and everything went to silence. The phone stopped ringing. Listing stopped; all buyers stopped. Everyone went into a retreat. It was almost as if people were rethinking their day to day life. What they were doing before was that really something they were anxious to rush back to? Right around Mother’s Day, the phone started ringing slowly. It was this awakening, and people were calling and saying, ‘I’m thinking about possibly getting a second home on the Eastern Shore for a long time, and after this, I think I want to do it now.
I think this was for a couple of reasons. One is rethinking day to day life. I had so many people say, you know, ‘why am I commuting three hours a day to go to an office when I just proved that I could successfully telework from my home?’ And secondly, ‘why do I want to be in this expensive apartment or condo in a dense city when I could buy something, and in between conference calls, go water my plants, or do a little kayaking.’ Then there’s also the thought that if there were another stay at home order in the Fall, they would be able to stay at home on the Eastern Shore.
So that was in May, and it was, it was pretty consistent day after day, but then by June, the pace really accelerated. I was getting phone call after phone calls from all over all the cities and from a lot of millennials, people who have never even been to the area or have only been here once or twice. And they were saying, ‘okay, I’m ready to commit.’ All of a sudden, now we have two and three and four bids on a single property that had been sitting there for over a year, and the bidding has been over the list price and buyers wanting to settle in 30 days. So, my personal experience has been that it’s a much faster, much, much quicker sales cycle.
Obviously, the way we are doing real estate has changed. At first, I did everything remotely. People were willing to consider properties from videos and photographs. And for a long time, the sellers would say, ‘no, I don’t want anybody in the house.’ To the extent that things were being done, they were being done remotely. Then around May 10th, when things started to open up, we had a protocol where the agent would wear a mask and gloves and would be the only ones who would turn on the lights and open the doors. Only two clients would be allowed at a time if the seller permitted it, and they would wear booties or take off their shoes. Everyone would maintain social distancing. And that’s pretty much how it is now.
Mary Losty is a retired Wall Street professional and an attorney by training, who for the past 5 years has been working as a realtor with Benson & Mangold, LLC. She can be reached at