Study Reveals Real Estate Market Facing Stress Test – Go Digital or Die

New U.S. survey of real estate industry confirms:

  • Digital readiness is #1 critical success factor for surviving in 2021
  • More than 1/3 of industry employees have compromised their personal safety to work during pandemic; 9% tested positive for COVID-19
  • Upsides of COVID-19 on real estate industry: environmental impact, forced innovation, increased D&I

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. October 6, 2020States Title, one of the leading forces for disruptive change in the real estate industry, announced today a new third party survey of real estate professionals revealing key insights on how stakeholders (lenders, real estate agents, and title agents) are evolving business operations to meet the challenges of COVID-19. The data shows that there is a transformation underway that puts a spotlight on digital readiness. According to the survey, 59% of real estate professionals say that digital readiness is a critical factor in order for the industry to survive in 2021.

“We are witnessing an unprecedented overnight shift in the structural foundation of the real estate market,” said States Title CEO Max Simkoff. “The real estate industry has gotten a long overdue wake-up call and has been forced to push the fast forward button on innovation. Ready or not – the time has come to adopt and embrace technological change. It’s the ultimate stress test for the entire industry.”

Buying & Selling Homes During COVID-19: Everyone Putting Lives at Risk

During a pandemic, every in-person interaction brings an element of risk. The States Title-sponsored survey found that during the pandemic, the industry has cause for concern when it comes to safety:

  • Real estate professionals said that “safety concerns due to in-person contact during home buying process” was the #1 concern of buyers and sellers (28% of buyers vs 33% sellers).
  • 39% of respondents said someone in their company has tested positive for COVID-19, 22% have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, and 9% have tested positive for COVID-19 themselves. 
  • 79% of real estate professionals said that “wearing a mask is a necessity” and they won’t do in-person business without one, 19% said that the choice depends on the business situation, while only 2% said that they never wear a mask. 
  • 36% of real estate stakeholders felt like their personal safety has been compromised in order to conduct a real estate business transaction during the pandemic.

Real Estate in Need of Therapy? The Most Social Industry Struggles with Isolation

Real estate professionals tend to be sociable, outgoing people who like to build relationships in-person and COVID-19 has prompted them to change the way they communicate and do business: 

  • 43% of respondents said that the pandemic has “somewhat” or “significantly” increased their stress levels. 33% said that loneliness due to lack of interaction with coworkers has impacted business success and productivity during the pandemic.
  • 34% said their work relationships with other stakeholders have been strained during COVID-19 due to pandemic-related productivity issues, slow downs and process inefficiencies; however, 32% said that their work relationships have improved because “we are all in the same boat.”

Empathy Takes a Front Seat – COVID-19 Forces Culture Change in Real Estate

COVID-19 is driving some positive changes in real estate company culture, with leaders putting a stronger emphasis on empathy, communication, diversity & inclusion, and customer care: 

  • 40% of respondents said that their company leadership has been more empathetic than ever before; more companies are offering new remote learning opportunities (38%), telehealth benefits (21%), and pay raises (14%). 
  • Many respondents said that their companies are working on new digital services (49%), dedicated customer support options (44%), and more contactless customer interactions (46%). 
  • More companies are even stepping up their efforts for diversity & inclusion (D&I): 40% are hiring for more diverse leadership positions, 38% have launched a D&I program, and 40% have donated money to nonprofit organizations with missions focused on diversity & inclusion. 

Real Estate Workforce More Resilient Than Ever

Despite the pandemic, Americans are still buying homes, building homes, and refinancing mortgages. Real estate professionals see many causes for optimism about their industry’s present and future:

  • 21% said that COVID-19 has prompted their businesses to embrace innovation that was long overdue, 23% said the pandemic has caused a positive environmental impact, due to less paper and more digital processes, and 17% said their workforce is more resilient than ever before.  
  • Looking ahead to 2021, 34% are most excited to see how WFH (work from home) can become even better; 24% are most excited about returning back to the physical office, and 22% are most excited to host and attend in-person real estate events. 
  • Finally, with respect to jobs, real estate professionals are committed to their careers.  A whopping 79% said despite the pandemic, they are committed to continuing their job/career in real estate.  

About The COVID-19 Digital Disruption Survey

This survey was conducted online within the United States by market-research consultancy Researchscape on behalf of States Title from August 12-26, 2020, with 256 respondents who work as lenders, real estate agents or title agents across the real estate industry. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Kelsey Flittner @

About States Title

States Title enables an instant real estate closing experience. The company uses machine intelligence and its patented technology solution to transform residential real estate, making closings instant and affordable. States Title’s clients include some of the largest bank and non-bank lenders in the U.S., and the company, which closed or issued insurance policies for nearly half a million transactions in 2019, is growing rapidly. To learn more, visit   

Media Contact for States Title:

Juliet Travis
Liftoff Communications