I thought I would provide some information about how Covid-19 is being addressed in our real estate business.
I have just returned from repatriating my children from Nicaragua to Canada and am now in self isolation for 2 weeks. Obviously, concern over the spread of the Covid-19 AND it's impact on absolutely everything is very real and cannot be ignored. While we hope the world continues on as usual to the maximum extent possible, with many of us in isolation, and the very real threat of total lockdown, real estate interactions have suddenly ground almost to a halt. Real estate is of course a very person to person business. Having said that, sales do happen even without showings (I have personally bought 2 homes before ever seeing them and I did not regret either purchase!) and we are still able to do safe showings when requested. The market was very, very busy prior to the Covid-19 crisis and there are still people out there who need to buy and sell homes. Just last week while I was out of the country, I received one offer and was told by another realtor that they were working on an offer. Today I received a request for a showing of a property. There will be sales during all of this-just not as many.
For our Sellers:
While our top priority is always our clients, of course now the focus needs to be on the greater good of the community. For that reason, we will not be doing any open houses until this crisis is resolved. We will however do limited showings. We will be more aggressively prescreening any buyers who would like to see our clients' homes and we will have standards in place for viewings. For the next 2 weeks, I will not be doing any showings due to the required self quarantine. Fortunately, up to this point, our team has not been affected so my other team members will do showings. I am still able to negotiate offers, look after marketing, etc. as none of these require in person meeting. Last week we received an offer that required a lot of issues be resolved and I was able to do that from out of the country, while also spending hours each day trying to get flights home (and panicking slightly!) .
For the well-being of our clients and the economy, we have slightly revamped how we do business to ensure we can still provide services our clients and the public require while maintaining social/physical distancing and eliminating opportunities for spread of Covid-19. We had stopped doing open houses a couple of weeks ago and will not resume doing opens until it is safe to do so. We will do specific showings as follows:
- For the time being, all of our listings will be available to view in person with sufficient notice. We ask for as much notice as possible for the benefit of our sellers, many of whom are now working from home or have children home from school.
- Prior to booking a showing, all buyers will be asked to confirm that they are not in a high risk group, nor are they experiencing any symptoms.
- We will only take one group through a home at a time and implement physical distancing.
- When it comes time to view our homes, my team will keep a reasonably safe distance from you. Personal space will be respected, including no hand-shakes (obviously!)
- We kindly request that you do not touch any surfaces in our sellers' homes. That includes opening of appliances, cupboards, drawers, doors, etc.
- The opening of doors and other items in the homes will be restricted to our team ONLY and we will have cleanliness protocols in place. If a buyer wishes to see something, they can request it and our team member will be happy to do it on their behalf.
- Feature sheets and print marketing material will not be distributed however we will have all information on line for viewing..
- If anyone requires further information, we are also happy to write down their names, numbers, and email addresses so that we can provide all relevant information directly.
As has always been the case, buyers can access all of the information on our listings from the comfort of a couch, from laptops, tablets, or smart-phones. Of course, before signing an offer, they may want to view the home in person and we are happy to provide buyers access with a private appointment as outlined above. When it comes time for an offer, we can do that without any contact using docusign and of course discussions by phone.
For our Buyers:
We do have clients currently looking to buy homes. Some need to buy as they have sold. There are still many homes for sale but not as many as we would like to see at this time of year. When we have clients looking to buy, in addition to using the usual avenues to find homes, we will also be contacting other realtors to see if they know of homes that their sellers planned to list but have delayed listing as a result of Covid-19. Some of these sellers may still be interested in selling and we would like to make those opportunities available to our buyers.
For our buyer showings, we will continue to try to arrange access for homes they may wish to purchase. There are some sellers (and realtors) who have decided not to show their homes. Hopefully those homes will have good photos and floorplans. I am hoping that more realtors will now do floor plans for their listings. We always do them but some do not and they are essential in the current situation! When we do have showings for our buyers, even when the sellers' realtor does not require it, we will be asking our buyers to adopt the protocols set out above.
For our Property Management Clients:
When renting out the homes of our clients, we will be implementing the same protocols set out above to show the homes to prospective tenants. We will also look after as many issues as possible, such as documentation, remotely.
We hope that you and your families are doing well during this crisis. If you would like more information or would like to discuss the market please let me know.
If you or anyone you know needs assistance during this time, while I cannot currently leave my house, we can assist. We belong to 2 groups providing assistance for anyone who needs help with groceries or anything else-just let us know!