|The Government of Ontario today announced new public health measures in Toronto, Ottawa and the Region of Peel.
These measures include “reducing the capacity limit for open houses to 10 people indoors, where physical distancing can be maintained”.
With that said, we want to reiterate that we strongly advise against holding traditional open houses. Instead, agents are encouraged to provide virtual open houses using online tools and digital video technologies.
We’ve attached below our email of September 24th that includes information on hosting virtual open houses and guidelines for safely serving buyer and seller clients during this time.
|Over the past few weeks we have seen an escalation in the number of Canadians contracting COVID-19. Now, as before, it is crucial that we respect directives from government and local public health authorities, and continue to work together to keep the communities we serve safe.
We cannot let our guard down. The busy, healthy recovery that our industry is experiencing could quickly evaporate if consumer confidence in our ability to provide safe brokerage services disappears.
In this regard, we want to remind you that we strongly advise against traditional open houses or person-to-person consumer outreach such as door knocking.
REALTORS® who wish to provide an open house service can host the event virtually, using online tools and digital video technologies. Please refer to our how-to guide, ‘Leveraging Facebook Live for Virtual Open Houses’.
All showings, including a property visit by a Realtor to conduct a virtual open house, should adhere to government and public health authorities’ guidelines and safety best practices.
|When working with buyers:
First work with a buyer to assess properties through virtual options (virtual tours, floorplans, photos). If a buyer is interested in a property, provide a virtual showing. (As a best practice, physical showings as a home shopping process, where a potential buyer visits multiple homes, should stop.) When a buyer has narrowed their search to a single property and requests a physical visit, you should make the necessary arrangements to keep both you and them safe.
- Before scheduling a showing, confirm with your purchasers and all occupants of the property (owners or tenants) that they are not displaying any signs of illness. Refer to Government of Canada guidelines on symptoms and prevention measures on an ongoing basis as information and guidance is subject to change.
- Have those attending a showing complete a buyer visitation and health disclosure form.
- Help your clients understand the importance of following current direction from government and health authorities, the risks that come with attending in-person showings, and the measures they MUST follow while viewing a home.
- Limit viewing to buyers (those who are/will be named on the offer).
~ Additional family members, friends or children MUST NOT be in attendance.
- Meet your buyers at the property.
~ Practice social distancing measures when travelling to the showing by driving in separate vehicles.
- Do not share items such as phones, tablets or laptops.
- Request in advance of the showing that the seller open all interior doors (including closets) and leave all lights on, to eliminate the need to touch surfaces in the home.
~ Do not shut interior doors or turn off lights during or at the end of the showing.
- Request that all occupants of the home be absent during the showing (take a walk or drive for one half hour to avoid any physical contact with buyer or buyer’s agent). If an occupant must be present, insist they practice social distancing measures.
- Do not greet others with handshakes or other physical contact, and keep at least 2 metres apart at all times.
- Immediately prior to entering the home or touching the lockbox, follow hand sanitizing guidelines established by health officials.
~ Disinfect with an alcohol-based sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
- Use sanitizing wipes to clean/disinfect the door handle and/or lockbox.
- Do not touch surfaces while walking through the home.
~ Have buyers place their hands in their pockets throughout the visit.
~ Use sanitizing wipes to disinfect a surface should you or the buyer inadvertently touch one.
- Under no circumstances should visitors use the washroom facilities while viewing the home.
- Ensure social distancing measures are rigorously maintained throughout the showing. If required, walk each buyer through the property one at a time.
- Request clients notify you if they become ill at any time after showing.
~ If a client becomes ill or is diagnosed with COVID-19, communicate this with the listing Realtor (who should then communicate with the seller).
- Keep a list of everyone that attended the property, including the date and time and their contact information. In the event of an infection, you may be asked to provide the information to local public health authorities so they may investigate further.
|When working with sellers:
- Help your clients understand the importance of following current direction from government and health authorities, the risks that come with allowing in-person showings, the measures they must take to prepare for the viewing of their home, and the measures that visitors will take while viewing their home.
- Double check with all parties immediately prior to any scheduled showing, that no one is experiencing new symptoms of illness of any kind.
- Restrict viewers to buyers who have an accepted conditional offer or an offer pending contingent on physical inspection only.
~ Anyone other than the principals on the offer can view it virtually. There should be no exceptions.
- Prior to a showing, have the seller or tenant open all interior doors (including closets) and leave all lights on, to minimize the need for viewers to touch surfaces in the home.
- Have all occupants of the home be absent during the showing (take a walk or drive for one half hour to avoid any physical contact with buyer or buyer’s Realtor). If an occupant must be present, insist they practice social distancing measures.
- Require that the seller or tenant disinfects all exterior door handles with an alcohol-based sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol prior to the showing.
- Require that the seller or tenant thoroughly clean and disinfect the lockbox, all door knobs, surfaces, light switches and counters with antibacterial/germ killing cleaners after the showing.
- Ensure you retain a completed buyer visitation and health disclosure form for every in-person showing of the property in the event of a requirement for contact-tracing purposes related to COVID-19.
Please email us if you have any additional questions or concerns regarding selling your home safely, firstname.lastname@example.org