Now that people are receiving the vaccine for COVID-19, can I expect buying or selling a home to be more like it used to be?

I’m confident that real estate is not the only industry that would sum up 2020 as an unwelcomed roller coaster ride. However, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, real estate professionals have found safe ways to support those needing to buy and sell real estate.

With vaccines now in transit and inoculation clinics setting up throughout the province, I think everyone is feeling a renewed sense of optimism as we eagerly count down the days until we can ring in the New Year.

I had originally planned to use this week’s column to recap the most popular topics discussed in 2020, but between receiving your question and looking ahead, I think there is an important message to be shared with Ask Joe readers.

It is essential that everyone involved in, or planning, a property purchase or sale in the coming months understand the continued need to understand and follow the advice of medical authorities and government officials when working with real estate salespersons to establish safety protocols for showing or viewing properties, where and when necessary.

This second wave has sent a clear message that the pandemic will continue to present challenges for some time, even with the release of vaccines, broad distribution will take many months.

As we battle the effects of pandemic fatigue, the temptation to skirt and bend the rules on guidelines and recommendations is understandable. Face masks can be uncomfortable and restrictions and protocols inconvenient when trying to buy or sell a property. They are also vital measures needed to protect ourselves, our families and friends from harm and continue to make a difference in the fight to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Each one of us plays an important part in keeping every one of us safe.

Salespersons and brokerages have learned a lot since the start of the pandemic, and they are well-equipped to facilitate near-touchless transactions for their clients. From offering video calls and 3D virtual tours and walkthroughs to providing digital documents and electronic signature tools, the profession has risen to the challenge in offering virtual services and respecting the need for physical distancing.

RECO continues to encourage vigilance in adhering to the guidance of government and medical authorities and discourage public gatherings wherever and whenever possible until further notice. This includes:

    • NO open houses;
    • Limiting gatherings to permissible limits within regions; and,
    • Reserving showings for only when necessary.

Remembering that we’re all in this together as we brace ourselves for a few more loops in this pandemic roller coaster, will go a long way in working together to keep everyone safe. From everyone at the Real Estate Council of Ontario, have a safe and healthy holiday and a very happy New Year.

If you have a question for Joe about the home buying or selling process, please email

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, follow on Twitter @RECOhelps or on YouTube at

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