Real Estate and COVID-19

What Buyers and Sellers Should Know

APRIL 2020

There’s no denying that the Coronavirus is impacting the day-to-day lives of Canadians. The pandemic has led many to change or delay their plans—including those related to real estate. While it’s true that postponing a home purchase or sale is right for some, it may not work well for others, depending upon your circumstances. If you cannot hold off on your plans, you should be prepared to take steps to ensure the health and safety of all involved.

If you’re buying or selling a home during the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s what you should know about doing so responsibly…

Utilize virtual showings

If you’re a seller, be aware that now isn’t the time to hold an open house. Encouraging buyers to gather in your home could increase the risk for COVID-19 transmission—and it’s also in clear opposition to the direction we’re receiving from health officials. That’s why our company has banned all open houses until further notice.

Home showings should only be held and attended when absolutely necessary. Fortunately, there are ways to highlight all that a property has to offer without the need for in-person interaction. The same is true of viewing a home—it’s possible to explore a living space in-depth through a virtual tour.

Our current corporate policy is that all homes must first be viewed remotely. If there is serious interest in a property (and the buyer is deemed qualified to purchase it), only those who will be on title can view it in-person. We are also disallowing second and third showings—there will be just one showing allowed per buyer per property.

Harvey Kalles Real Estate Ltd. gives sellers the opportunity to market and show their properties effectively using cutting-edge technology like Matterport Tours (which provide 3D views) and digital flipbooks. These tools are equally helpful for buyers, who can get up close and personal with a home while maintaining a distance.

Safer in-person showings

It’s understandable that some buyers may not want to commit to a property before seeing it in person. The good news is, there are safety precautions that can help reduce the potential risks associated with a showing—whether you’re on the buying or selling side of a transaction. Here are a few things you and your agent can do.

Keep it small

Showings should be limited to the buyers who will be on title. In other words: leave the kids at home, and keep extra family members out of the process.

Do some home prep

Before and after a showing, the sales professionals involved should disinfect doorknobs, light switches, and other frequently-touched indoor surfaces.

Minimize contact

If you’re a buyer, try to make sure you don’t make physical contact with any surfaces during your viewing. Agents can help by opening all doors and closets, and turning on the lights beforehand. Clean your hands before and after the showing, using hand sanitizer. Your sales representative should be offering this product as an added precaution.

You should also be prepared to answer a few questions about whether you’ve experienced symptoms of COVID-19—or had recent contact with someone who has tested positive. You may also be asked to sign an indemnity form whereby you acknowledge the risks associated with entering the home during the coronavirus crisis.

Please don’t take any of this personally. Remember that it’s all in the name of keeping participants safe, and helping to ensure public health.

Talk to your agent

There’s no getting around it, the home buying and selling processes don’t look the way they did before COVID-19. One thing that will remain the same is the high level of service you will receive from the Kalles professionals you work with.

If you have questions about the safety precautions your agent is implementing (and how they’ll impact your transaction), the best thing to do is ask. From electronic document signing to virtual negotiations, the people who serve you will be doing everything they can to ensure that your experience is a smooth (and healthy) one.

As a home buyer or seller, you can do your part by remaining flexible. Adapt to new ways of carrying out transactions, stay alert for instructions from health authorities, and don’t forget: we’re all in this together.