COVID19 Protocols Buyers

May 18, 2020 Community Information

Real Estate in the Era of COVID19

Worldwide, the effects of dealing with the COVID19 situation is creating change in every aspect of life. Real Estate is no different. Fortunately, Realtors® have been deemed an Essential Service, which makes sense when you consider housing and shelter are a basic need. We are incredibly adaptable and able to help our clients navigate these unchartered waters. There are still sellers needing to sell, and buyers needing to buy, for a variety of reasons. It is our privilege to help our clients while following all current public health orders and recommendations.

Part of these recommendations for Realtors® include limiting physical contact as much as possible, to ensure Buyers are ready to buy, and Sellers are ready to sell, and that our services are required. This creates unique protocols for Buyers and Sellers and their Realtors®.  

It is a great time for Sellers to be listed on the MLS system we use, as there are many Buyers staying home due to physical distancing protocols and they are spending time viewing properties on the internet. It is a Seller’s choice whether to allow showings of their home or not. Normally Realtors® are not allowed to have a listing on the MLS service unless the seller is prepared to have showings. However, during these times an exception has been allowed and properties can be listed on the MLS service without allowing showings, thus enabling a Seller’s home maximum exposure while Buyers are looking online, with the intent for the Seller to allow showings once comfortable doing so. The advice of your Realtor® during this time can be crucial in meeting your personal real estate goals.

What Buyers can expect when looking for property

Ask yourself if you’re in a position to purchase a property right now. Have you already sold your home if you need to before you’re able to buy? Do you have your financing pre-approved and ready to go, updated after COVID19? Having the advice of a Realtor® to help with the timing of these decisions can be crucial, especially in a fast-changing market.

Open Houses

While there are no more physical open houses to visit, instead, look for virtual open houses online, ask questions in real time about a property in which you’re interested of the Realtor® hosting the virtual open house. Remember not to reveal too much about your personal details while online! Keep the confidential information about yourself and your motivations between yourself and your Realtor®, this best protects your negotiating position when the time comes to write an offer.

Do your research

Communicate with others using electronic means such as telephone, email, video conferencing, as much as possible. Tour properties online by researching everything possible prior to arranging a showing, have your Realtor® assist you with research about properties in which you’re most interested. Use 3D or 360° tours to virtually walk through a home and yard online. No special software is required to do this, an internet connection and a web browser will open these tours for you on desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones. Drive by the home and check the neighbourhood before asking for a showing. Once you’ve determined you’re ready to view a home, ask your Realtor® to conduct a video showing of the property with you live. Ask them all the pertinent questions and to peek in corners and under counters etc. to further help you to determine if this is the home for you.

Arranging a showing

If you’re certain this may be the home, then a showing may be arranged. Be prepared for yourself and your Realtor® to answer and sign a disclosure questionnaire about current health, travel history, and any symptoms anyone may be feeling, and to share this information with the Seller and their Realtor®. Also be prepared to share your current address and phone numbers with both Realtors® in case you need to be contacted related to COVID19 tracing in the future. Travel to the showing in separate vehicles. Always maintain a 6-foot distance from others. Showings will be limited to those buyers whose names will appear on the contract only, no exceptions.

Buyers will be asked to keep their hands in their pockets and to touch nothing while in the home. If you want a cupboard door opened ask your Realtor® to do so for you. Realtors® will be wearing gloves during the showing and disinfecting all surfaces prior to touching them and afterwards.

Writing an Offer & Fulfilling Subjects

Signatures on contracts can be obtained using electronic signature programs, such as DocuSign®. Subjects in contracts of purchase and sale may still be fulfilled by having building inspections performed, insurances arranged, mortgages finalized, etc. The trades involved in each of these transactions will most likely be conducting most of their business remotely, with phone consultations between buyers and home inspectors, insurances and mortgages being arranged via telephone, thus keeping physical contact and visits to a minimum. Be prepared for the time period for these subjects to be fulfilled to be longer than previously expected. Many agencies are very busy and are working as quickly as possible to finalize arrangements for their clients. Ensure that additional trades related to a purchase are available when needed, such as movers, cleaners, gardeners, handymen, etc. Having the advice and negotiating experience of a Realtor® while writing your offer and choosing dates can be crucial in achieving your goals.

Completion and Possession

Consult with your lawyer prior to completion date to determine how the conveyance of paperwork will be conducted. Some lawyers are conducting video consultations and electronic signatures rather than meeting in person. Key exchanges are now done while maintaining physical distancing rules of 6 feet of separation.

Whether buying or selling, our expertise and adaptability will help our clients achieve their real estate goals during these unprecedented times. Call us today, a Realtor® is ready to assist you.