Selling real estate is a challenging task at any given time, during the pandemic the process has changed drastically, there are many more obstacles to overcome, restrictions and regulations to follow.
Certain advice apply to buyers and sellers alike, while other aspects of the transactions differ significantly.
Be aware that some aspects of the transactions may take longer due to closures and general difficulties of the situation, prepare and protect yourself accordingly.
Restrictions and Regulations.
In addition to advice issued by Health Canada all restrictions and regulations by the federal, provincial and municipal governments, as well as real estate governing bodies and safety measures implemented by the brokerages must be followed. The specifics are currently as follows:
- Open houses are prohibited
- Direct physical interaction must be kept to an absolute minimum
- Offices are closed to clients, only essential staff is allowed
Alternative Smart Solutions.
We are encouraged use digital technology as much as possible, the following are the tools at our arsenal which should be implemented:
- Use of electronic signatures is required, the electronic signatures are acceptable when signing offers, agreements, mortgage and legal documents.
- Payments should be made electronically by wire or email transfers instead of bank drafts or certified cheques
- Meetings and communication should be done via smart technology such as zoom, messenger, skype, smart phones etc.
- Virtual open houses are a possibility, the agent can live stream a walk thought, zoom in on every detail, answer any question with the help of digital technology.
- Virtual stating instead of regular staging.
Sellers are required to sign disclaimer forms related to their health, recent travels, contacts with other who may experience symptoms or who have travelled. The disclaimer forms will be required by the brokerage representing the buyers as well as the brokerage representing the sellers. This is very important document which must be taken seriously. The Sellers Consent form must be completed prior to showing the property.
Clauses and Conditions.
Multiple clauses have been introduced recently to help accommodate the transaction and protect the interest of the buyers, the following are samples of clauses that can be used:
Conditional Upon Viewing – Could be used for clients that are serious about a property and prepare an offer prior to viewing.
Conditional Service Interruptions – on service disruptions of Land Registry Office, financial institutions, banking system, governments, etc.
Under normal circumstances the goal is to generate as much interest as possible and have as many people come through the property as possible, but this is not a normal situation.
- Ensure your realtor doesn’t double book the showings, every potential buyer should see the house without other buyers around.
- Leave the property.
- Disinfect the property, especially light switches, door handles, or any other high contact areas prior and after the showings.
- Instruct the buyers not to touch anything (you can put signs throught the house remiding the buyers not to touch anything).
- Leave the lights on, door open, create an environment where any surface contact is limited as much as possible.
- Leave hand sanitizers or wipes by the door or on the counter, leave paper towels.
- Request the confirmation that the buyer is pre-approved for financing to assess the seriousness of the buyer.
- You can refuse the showing if you don’t feel comfortable.
- You can request anyone entering your house to wear gloves, masks or other requirements.
- If you or anyone at your household is at risk do not show the properties in person.
Price the property properly.
Prior to the crisis it was very common around the GTA to list the property below market value, set the offer date and wait for the bidding war to unfold, 10 or 20 offers on the property was quite common. At the beginning of April we are not seeing price correction at the moment but obviously the volume of the transactions went down as many buyers are staying home, and many sellers are not listing their properties. The properties which would commonly receive 10 or 20 offers may not only get 1 or 2 offers, some are still getting more but it’s less common. Price your property correctly if you are expecting to sell it soon, setting low listing price may back fire and you may not get the offer you are hoping for.
Selling or Buying Tenanted Properties.
Please refer to Renting Changes During Covid-19.
When buying and selling there are guidelines and recommendations provided but no specific rules (as of now) prohibiting the sale or in person showings.
For buyers and sellers there are many questions to be answered, among many will the property be empty on the closing day.
Some condominium boards do not allow in person showings, before listing the property for sale consult with the condominium board what are the rules, regulations and restrictions which must be adhered to.
Confirm Your Realtor is Healthy.
Before each meeting with your agent ask for a confirmation in writing (text, email or other digital form) that your realtor is free of covid-19 symptoms, have not been in contact with anyone who have experienced the symptoms, is not required to quarantine, or otherwise has no reasons to suspect he or she is infected with the virus.
We are here to help in this difficult situation, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.