Real estate has been considered an essential service, but it is not business as usual.
Realtors have a duty to follow the direction of health officials to minimize direct physical interaction by only listing properties if it is absolutely necessary for the seller to move and show properties if buyers are in a situation where they need to purchase in order to put a roof over their family’s heads.
This is definitely not a time where people should be testing out the market or scrambling to sell before we go into a recession.
It was announced earlier this month that physical public open houses are absolutely prohibited and sales people are encouraged to follow the direction of the health officials by declining to facilitate or participate in physical public open houses, even if the seller's request. Sales people are also recommened to limit showings to only those buyers who need to find a place to live, not to those who are testing out the market.
Many agents are embracing digital technology to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission, but also be able to provide service to their sellers and buyers if absolutely necessary.
It has been encouraged that agents do virtual walk-throughs and virtual open houses to limit the number of people going through properties and to use any pre-existing virtual tours to assist buyers with narrowing down their searches.
Most listing agents are only allowing showings to be booked if the buyers have seen all photos, videos and done a drive by the property prior to any showing requests. Brokerages are sending out forms to be signed by all buyers and their agent before confirming appointments, screening all individuals on current state of health and so forth.
Lastly, to minimize risk in your home if you do need to sell, it is recommended to leave hand sanitizer and gloves at the front door and wipe all door knobs, light switches and surfaces when you get home.
Ashley Lamb is a columnist for BarrieToday who reports monthly on the local condo market.