Real Estate During COVID-19
Interesting times, eh? Many businesses have been shut down in the last week or so, but many are still up and running – including real estate… for now! TRREB continues to see new listings every day, and plenty of sales. I’ll admit that I’m a bit surprised, but it’s happening. These are strange times, but if you need to sell, and/or if you’ve spotted something that you want to buy, we can probably get it done.
Since much of real estate is conducted in person – client consultations, home valuations, showings, open houses, home inspections, etc. – it would seem like real estate would be a prime candidate for a shut-down – and it may yet happen. However, at least so far, business has continued with some interesting modifications. Here are a few:
- No public open houses. This makes sense, and really doesn’t require any further explanation. 😉
- No over-lapping showings. Sometimes, we allow more than one agent to take their buyer(s) through a home at the same time. This practice has been paused for now in an effort to limit physical contact amongst strangers.
- Video showings – I’m not sure how common this will be, but it’s possible for an agent to, for example, walk through a listing with FaceTime or Skype going, and show a potential buyer more details than would be apparent via a standard virtual tour. (I have actually done this before, for an out-of-town buyer.)
- Encouraging people viewing a property to follow hand washing and sanitizing guidelines established by health officials.
- Using disinfecting wipes to clean commonly-shared surfaces like door handles.
- Reminding clients viewing a property to avoid touching surfaces or items in the home.
- Refraining from greeting others with handshakes or hugs (#socialdistancing!).
- Encouraging sellers to thoroughly clean and disinfect the house after viewings.
- Requesting that clients notify their Realtor if they become ill within two weeks of an open house or showing. If an attendee does become sick or is diagnosed with COVID-19, we’ll want to communicate this with the homeowner and other attendees if possible.
- Being extra diligent about tracking who attends the property, including the date, time and their contact information. In the event of an infection, we want to be able to provide the information to local public health authorities so they may investigate further.
- Having buyers provide deposits via e-transfer, instead of a physical bank draft (which saves a trip to the bank, followed by a visit to the listing Brokerage, and further handling of the paper by staff, etc.).
Most of the above are obvious, and just require a reminder from time to time – but, we do need to be extra mindful of taking precautions.
The bottom line is that, for now, real estate business is still being conducted, and I’m here for you if you need anything!