I have no choice but to list my home for sale in the next two weeks. In these days of physical distancing, how do I limit the number of people coming through my home?
There are many reasons why someone may need to buy or sell a property in the weeks ahead. While real estate remains on the essential workplaces list, it is important to note that open houses are prohibited for the foreseeable future as we battle COVID-19.
Selling your home right now can be a very intimidating and nerve-wracking endeavour. Please make yourself familiar with the directions provided by health authorities (local, provincial and federal) and discuss with your brokerage how you can eliminate, or wherever possible minimize, in-person contact. Fortunately, technology allows us many options to keep in touch while maintaining physical distancing.
Ensure you’re following the laws and directions from health authorities to protect yourself, your family and the public, and discuss with your brokerage how you can eliminate or wherever possible minimize in-person contact throughout the home selling or buying process. Things have been changing quickly, and could mean changes to your marketing strategy and to your expectations from before the pandemic.
Brokerages have been carefully assessing the way they do business. Many have aggressively adopted alternative ways of delivering real estate services that respect the need to practise physical distancing, taking advantage of virtual options wherever possible.
Fortunately, the real estate industry uses modern tools and technology to deliver its services. In recent weeks, I have had many conversations with industry professionals who have embraced technology that enables buyers and sellers to show and view properties without setting foot in homes available for purchase.
By exploring the use of paperless administrative tools like e-signatures and virtual marketing strategies, viewing solutions such as video and virtual tours, and providing conventional property photos and floor plans, people are effectively evaluating properties from a distance. Though a buyer may want to see the home in-person before signing an agreement, digital tools are effectively substituting the need for open houses and successfully decreasing the number of private, in-person showings to reserve them only for the most serious buyers in the final stages of assessing a property for purchase.
Of course, is it not possible for a home inspector, appraiser or other professional to conduct virtual inspections of the property, so arrangements may have to be made for this kind of appointment.
Prior to signing a buyer representation agreement (BRA) or listing agreement, I encourage you to have an open, honest conversation with your potential representative to discuss the services, precautions and policies put in place by their brokerage in the face of COVID-19 and ask how they differ from what may have happened before the pandemic.
If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.