This month, the Ontario government allowed Toronto and Durham Region to enter Stage 2 of the province’s reopening plan for the pandemic. What does that mean in real estate?
Basically, not much has changed – REALTORS® are still prohibited from conducting Open Houses (but virtual Open Houses are encouraged) and the use of Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”) is still recommended.
When working with me to buy or sell a home, one of the first steps in our process will be to have an open conversation about the expectations of conducting real estate business during the COVID-19 pandemic, including what can be realistically done, what is currently prohibited and what risk management measures are comfortable for all of us.
We can discuss the following risk management options:
- Minimize in-person meetings by using phone calls and video calls as much as possible.
- Minimize the amount of paper and pens being shared between us. To the extent that you are comfortable with dealing with documents electronically, documents can be reviewed and signed with just a computer or mobile device and access to the internet from the comfort of your home without meeting with me in person. I use a legally-approved document signature program which allows you to sign documents without the need to print or scan. Prior to signing, I will send the documents to you for your review, and we will discuss the documents by phone or video call, to ensure that you understand and are satisfied with the documents that you are signing. For those who would prefer to deal with documents in-person, we will discuss in advance our risk management plan for doing so, which will include practicing physical distancing and wearing masks.
Virtual Open Houses and Virtual Tours
- In-person showings can be minimized with the use of online photographs and virtual tours.
Cleaning and Disinfecting
- Before and after showings, the home’s high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, cabinet doors and light switches, should be disinfected to help reduce the risk of transmission of the virus to the home’s occupants and visitors. If you are selling a home, as your REALTOR®, I can provide a supply of hand sanitizer for visitors to use as they visit the home, to help reduce the risk that they will leave any virus behind.
Hand Sanitizer and Not Touching Your Face
- Any time you are not at home, I recommend having hand sanitizer handy, in case you end up touching anything, or if you just aren’t sure whether or not you did. As your REALTOR®, I can provide you with hand sanitizer if you need some. Also, try to remember not to touch your face. For sellers, this includes times that you leave home to allow for showings, and for buyers, this includes times when viewing properties in-person. For buyers, as your REALTOR®, I can be the designated person to open any doors, cabinets, etc. so that you don’t have to touch anything.
- Unless you are outdoors and practicing physical distancing, then I recommend that we wear masks when meeting in-person. If you do not have your own mask, then I can provide you with one for our meeting. Physical distancing should be practiced to the extent possible, even while wearing masks.
- The majority of home sellers are currently banning the use of their washrooms. So, I recommend that everyone involved in a real estate transaction plan their washroom needs before they leave home.
Thinking about buying and/or selling a home? Contact me for more information: 416-725-3544.
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