COVID-19 and Real Estate – What’s Happening

It’s day…I’m not sure what day we’re at now – with our new world and life of social distancing.

It’s been a crazy few weeks, and things are changing and coming at us at a pace we’ve probably never experienced before. From so many things being closed or shut down, to having to learn how to work from home along with keeping our kids safe – and also making sure that they are continually learning, to caring for and keeping in touch with parents and family, sometimes only virtually. These are definitely trying times. It is a time of uncertainty, worry and, as we’ve all heard so many times, so unprecedented.

I just wanted to let you know that real estate in Ontario is continuing to carry on. Realtors and the real estate industry were deemed an essential service as many Canadians still need to move or sell homes during this time.

Real Estate and COVID-19: What you need to know

Real estate has been able to adapt like many other business. Here are some things that have been implemented:

  1. Public Open Houses have been stopped; however, virtual open houses are the new normal. An agent selling a home will still be able to host open houses through platforms such as Zoom, Facetime and Facebook Live.
  2. Conducting private tours for agents and their clients online so that they can view the home and ask any questions they may have.
  3. For in-person showings, making sure there are no double bookings to view homes (only one client in at a time).
  4. Prospective buyers should keep the number of viewers to a minimum. This is not the time to bring the kids or mom and dad to look at homes with you.
  5. For showings, sellers are required to leave all inside doors open (e.g. closet doors, pantry doors) and rooms accessible to limit the amount of outside touching that takes place in the home.
  6. Providing gloves, hand sanitizer and wipes for properties listed for sale to make sure the property stays clean.

These are all things that have been implemented, but if you do NOT need to sell your home at this time, I would recommend putting the sale of your house on hold for a while. As there are fewer buyers on the market right now, selling your home might be a bit more challenging.

On the other side of things, if you are looking to buy…this time of crisis might work to your advantage.

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, Toronto and the GTA was experiencing a very hot market with multiple offers being commonplace. The Spring market was predicted to be a high seller’s market with a lot of buyers and limited inventory. Now, we are seeing inventory on the market come out, but the number of buyers has gone down. The competition now is less, and you might find a great deal if you are looking for a new home.

Here are things that Realestating is doing to adapt to the policies of social distancing and safety for buyers at this time:

  1. Meeting our clients at the property and keeping a safe distance at all times.
  2. Using virtual tours, speaking with the listing agents, and doing as much as possible to “view” the property before actually going to the property. We’re also helping our clients narrow down homes to those that are a real interest before booking showings.
  3. Following all safety protocols such as hand washing, wearing protective gloves, and making sure your visit to any properties is as hands-free as possible.

Closing Process
During these times, the real estate industry, along with partners such as lawyers, movers, appraisers and financial institutions have been deemed essential. The industry has been able to quickly transition to a completely contactless process. Lawyer visits have been transferred to electronic and online platforms. Wire transfers for all deposits and payments can be completed for any transaction.

My brokerage, Royal LePage Real Estate Services, has created critical clauses that have been designed to keep both buyers and sellers safe and protected in real estate transactions, anticipating situations such as a buyer or seller getting sick and having to self-quarantine, or the possibility that certain services or offices need to close during this time. We have guidance from lawyers, mortgage brokers and real estate experts. Many of our agents have been in the business for a long time and have dealt with previous crises, including the 2017 market crash and the SARS epidemic.

As my valued client, please know that I am here and available should any real estate need arise. These are challenging times but there are solutions and methods that we can use to get through this.

There are still people buying and selling. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you or any of your contacts need help with real estate at this time.

Stay safe my friends, we will get through this challenging time together.

– Giselle