The current situation with Covid 19 is very difficult to adapt, especially if in an area deemed essential and involving interaction with the public.
One of these areas is real estate.
Veteran real estate agent Ed Valenti says there have been several changes to his line of work.
“The province considers real estate to be an essential service, so we are always open. At this point, I work mainly at home, ”he explains.
The biggest difference may be that real estate agents no longer do “open doors” where homes are considered open for viewing, usually for 90 minutes, and almost anyone can stop.
“Now I only visit by appointment. We set a specific schedule if someone is really interested in a certain list and we have protocols that we recommend, “says Valenti.
“We advise the owner to clean all surfaces and common areas before the projection and to do the same after the projection. In addition, we ask potential buyers not to touch anything but to only look at it, so it’s a different home buying experience for sure “, he adds.
Despite the current situation, Valenti says that there are still people who have to enter the market because of their particular situation.
“We are still receiving new registrations, but not at the rate we would expect for spring. Some people have a job transfer or family situation that forces them to look at real estate regardless of the current climate. ”
Valenti points out that current technology is helping, explaining, “Instead of signing things in person, we can rely on electronic signature options. This encourages some real estate agents from the “old school” to adapt to more modern technology, “he adds.
While he faces the same fears of the unknown as everyone else, Valenti says he is optimistic.
“When we show a house, we take every possible precaution. And although it’s a time of unknowns now, it will pass and the community will come out together, “he said.
“I think we will be stronger on the other side. ”
Meanwhile, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) urges Ontario real estate agents to cease all in-person activities, including open days, hours of service for agents and public offices, and face-to-face sessions, particularly homes occupied by tenants, during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
“In these unique situations, where a property for sale is occupied by tenants, the health and safety of these tenants, real estate agents and their customers are of the highest priority,” said a statement.
“I should point out that this does not mean that Ontario real estate agents are continuing to operate. It’s time to stop all face-to-face activities, including open houses, maintenance of agent and public office hours, and in-person presentations, especially in cases where a property is occupied by a tenant, “said Sean Morrison, President of OREA. “As real estate agents and community leaders, we must do our part to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Why put your health at stake – or that of your client or your community – for sessions that can simply be postponed for a few weeks? It’s not worth the risk.
“If a client – particularly one with rental property – has an urgent need to sell or buy a house during the COVID-19 crisis, real estate agents have the tools and modern knowledge at their disposal to make virtual visits . OREA calls on its real estate agents to work with the owner and the tenant to ensure the health and well-being of buyers, sellers and families in our province remains a priority by encouraging the use of modern technologies that facilitate interactions with distance, such as virtual tours, videoconferences and digital signature.
“As a society, we are experiencing extraordinary times and we are entering unknown territory in our way of working and living,” said Morrison. “While customers who may decide to organize private screenings during this period make the decision for themselves, tenants often have no choice but to endanger the health of everyone involved. As real estate agents, it is our responsibility to give clients the best advice possible – and this includes ending all face-to-face activities until this crisis is resolved. ”
OREA has previously called on its members to stop open days during this period, and has repeatedly urged its members to follow government and public health recommendations to help stop the spread of COVID-19, including following clear advice from the real estate regulator, the Ontario Real Estate Council (RECO). Across Ontario, real estate companies, brokerages and local real estate boards have asked their members to follow government recommendations, practice reasonable social distancing and end business in person, including open houses , during the crisis.