I am selling my home and have an open house planned. Should I tell my salesperson to cancel it because of COVID-19?

These are challenging times. And regardless of your role — whether buyer, seller, salesperson, broker, real estate lawyer, or one of the many other professional service providers — these are unchartered waters.

Under the circumstances and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, brokerages are re-evaluating the services they provide. Specifically, services that make it difficult to practice social distancing. In light of government restrictions, open houses are not essential to the sale of a home and you should expect open house showings to not be permitted. A home showing of any sort must ensure strict social distancing protocols are followed, for your safety and that of those interested in seeing the home.

It may be frustrating for some buyers and sellers, but at the time that I write this, I am optimistic that by following the restrictions, guidance and recommendations provided by medical experts and our government leaders, Ontarians can “flatten the curve” in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. It is important to recognize that open houses and showings present circumstances that make it difficult, if not impossible, to practice social distancing.

Everyone, including the real estate community has a role to play in reducing the impact of COVID-19. I strongly advise that anyone considering selling or buying a home in the next little while consider the current limitation on professional services restrictions that may be in place.

Real estate professionals are well equipped to market properties and are there to support you in selling your home. From recommending social media and digital tools like, videos, virtual tours, online photos, floor plans and brochures, salespeople are also equipped to helping you make informed choices about showings in necessary circumstances, in keeping with direction from health officials.

I recommend home sellers speak with their representative to discuss the full spectrum of services available to market their property in these challenging times. When considering marketing options, please continue to follow the direction of health officials, as things are changing quickly.

As health officials and experts have advised, it will take time to adjust to our new normalcy —however long or temporary this may be — we are all in this together.

Please continue to comply with the direction of our federal, provincial and municipal health officials to do your part in helping to flatten the curve.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

Joseph Richer is Registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). He is in charge of the administration and enforcement of all rules that govern real estate professionals in Ontario. You can find more tips at reco.on.ca, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/RECOhelps.

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