COVID – 19 and the Real Estate Industry

As the pandemic COVID 19 hits closest to home for the Real estate industry it is not ‘business as usual’. We as REALTORS® understand that we need to support and assist our clients who have a critical and urgent housing needs. There are those who have sold their home and not yet purchased, or those who must sell or buy to meet their personal financial obligations or provide shelter for their family.

While the pandemic has changed the real estate industry, at least for the near future. Online searches have been the long-time standard method of home Buyers starting their home buying process, with 9 out of 10 buyers starting their search online even prior to the social distancing measures currently in place.

The following safety measures are being taken to provide services for those who have housing needs are being guided by public health authorities and the government.

If there ever was a time when the famous Royal LePage motto of ‘Helping you is what we do’ will resonate with our public, this is that time.

~ Phil Soper, President and CEO of Royal LePage Canada

 

Virtual Tours and Photos

Knowing the internet was a starting point for the majority of Buyers, the real estate industry has had emphasis on this medium for a long time, with property listings on MLS/Realtor.ca allowing for 31 photos and 2 virtual tours to be uploaded. REALTORS® are also able to upload documents such as floor plans and survey to be made available to the public.

For REALTORS® who have websites on point2homes.com, their listings can have up to 75 images! Many REALTORS® have their own you tube channels with their virtual and even interactive tours of their listings uploaded and available.

The lots of visual opportunity is still available to home Buyers to see enough of the homes they may be interested in, in order to narrow down their preferences to their top favorites.

 

Live Video Tours

Once a Buyer determines they are interested in seeing more of a property then their REALTOR® can facilitate a live video feed with the Buyer and take them on tour about the property. There is also the option with some programs of recording this live tour for future reference.

This live video tour will give a Buyer a sense of reference, size and layout to not just the home itself but out buildings and neighbours. The Buyer can ask the REALTOR® to show them specific things during the tour, such as electrical panel, and heating systems, which may not be amongst the listings photos.

 

Electronic Signatures

The Real Estate industry and courts of law accepts electronic signatures as legal, therefore any real estate transaction contracts and offers can easily completed over the internet or fax.

Your REALTOR® can assist you with how to do this on your home computer.  For electronic signature programs all you need is an email address, and the link that your REALTOR® emails you will walk you through the set up, and each initial or signature of your will be as easy as a click of the mouse.

 

Seller Showing Procedures

  • Understand the importance of following current direction from government and health authorities, the risks that come with allowing in-person showings, the measures Sellers must take to prepare for the viewing of their home, and the measures that visitors will take while viewing their home.
  • Royal LePage Canada has implemented a COVID -19 Seller Consent, Release and Indemnity Form for REALTORS® to review with their selling clients to ensure they are fulfilling their fiduciary duty, and secure their clients’ written direction (signed approvals) to proceed with showings.
  • Before accepting a showing, ensure that the Listing REALTOR® has received a copy of a completed Royal LePage Showing Health Disclosure Declaration provided by the Buyer’s REALTOR® which captures information confirming that no one attending the showing (Buyer REALTOR® or buying clients, or any occupant of the property) has:
  • recently travelled anywhere outside of Canada or has been in contact with anyone who has travelled outside of Canada.
  • had any of the following symptoms in the last 14 days: Fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Refer to the Government of Canada Coronavirus site for an up-to-date list of symptoms.
  • knowingly come into contact with anyone experiencing the following symptoms in the last 14 days: Fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing;
  • come into contact with anyone with a presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the last 14 days.

Showing appointments will ONLY be confirmed once the signed form has been received by your Listing REALTOR®. The criteria on the Showing Health Disclosure Declaration form is subject to change should the government and health authorities guidelines change.

  • Understand the importance of following current direction from government and health authorities, and the risks that come with allowing in-person showings, and the measures that REALTORS® and their clients will take while viewing a Sellers home.
  • Restrict viewers to buyers who have an accepted conditional offer or an offer pending contingent on physical inspection only.

Anyone other than the principals on the offer can view it virtually. There are no exceptions.

  • Open all interior doors (including closets) and leave all lights on, to minimize the need for viewers to touch surfaces in the home.
  • Have all occupants of the home be absent during the showing (take a walk or drive for one half hour to avoid any physical contact with Buyer or Buyer’s REALTOR®). If an occupant must be present, insist they practice social distancing measures.
  • Disinfect all exterior door handles and lockbox with an alcohol-based sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol prior to the showing.
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect the lockbox, all door knobs, surfaces, light switches and counters with antibacterial/germ killing cleaners after the showing.

 

Buyer Showing Procedures

Before scheduling or attending a showing, complete the Royal LePage Showing Health Disclosure Declaration provided by your REALTOR® which captures information confirming that no one attending the showing (Buyer REALTOR® or buying clients, or any occupant of the property) has:

  • recently travelled anywhere outside of Canada or has been in contact with anyone who has travelled outside of Canada.
  • had any of the following symptoms in the last 14 days: Fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing. Refer to the Government of Canada Coronavirus site for an up-to-date list of symptoms.
  • knowingly come into contact with anyone experiencing the following symptoms in the last 14 days: Fever, dry cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing;
  • come into contact with anyone with a presumptive or confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the last 14 days.

The criteria on the Showing Health Disclosure Declaration form is subject to change should the government and health authorities guidelines change.

  • Understand the importance of following current direction from government and health authorities and the risks that come with attending in-person showings.
  • Limit viewing only to those who are/will be specifically named on the offer:
  • Additional family members, friends or children should not be in attendance. There are no exceptions.
  • Meet your REALTOR® at the property
  • Practice social distancing measures when travelling to the showing by driving in separate vehicles.
  • Do not share items such as phones, tablets or laptops.
  • Immediately prior to entering the home disinfect your hands with an alcohol-based sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Do not touch surfaces in the home and keep your hands in your pockets throughout the visit.
  • Do not greet others with handshakes or hugs, and ensure you are at least 2 metres apart at all times.
  • Under no circumstances should you use the washroom facilities while viewing the home.
  • Ensure social distancing (keeping 2 metres apart) is rigorously maintained throughout the showing. If required, your REALTOR® can walk each buyer through the property one at a time.
  • Notify your REALTOR® if you become ill at any time after a showing.

 

Showing Health Disclosure Form-Buyers

Seller Consent, Release & Indemnity Form

Seller Guidelines for Property Showings

Buyer Guidelines for Property Showings

Government of Canada Coronavirus Site

Social Distancing Measures

https://novascotiarealestate.pro/home-evaluation/

COVID – 19 Symptoms

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.

FEVER

COUGH

SHORTNESS OF BREATH

FATIGUE

THESE SYMPTOMS USUALLY APPEAR MILD AND BEGIN GRADUALLY.

SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE IF YOU HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS AND HAVE BEEN IN CONTACT WITH A PERSON KNOWN TO HAVE COVID – 19 OR YOU LIVE IN AN AREA WITH AN ONGOING SPREAD. SOURCE: WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, CENTRE FOR DISEASE CONTROL