Selling a home pre-pandemic was a highly nuanced affair so sellers and their realtors should be forgiven if they are feeling the pressures of selling a home in this new COVID climate.
Even the simplest of norms in practicing real estate are evolving in unusual ways. Sadly, toe touching could replace a firm handshake and remote connections may be phased out in favor or face to face.
And whoever imagined that healthcare protocols would be the main source of anxiety when listing a home?
And yet, our real estate market seems to be holding its own during this pandemic-triggered economic slow-down.
If you have been thinking of putting your home on the market this summer you are not alone. As of May 25th, new listings in the Fraser Valley have increased by over 46 per cent compared to the same period in April.
And last month, even though transactions were down significantly compared to April of last year, on average on a daily basis, 23 families in the Fraser Valley purchased a new home, while on average, 47 sellers per day listed their home.
As BC begins a careful and gradual reopening, many remain uncertain if the population will adhere to the prescribed measures such as social distancing and frequent hand washing. As of Thursday (May 21), BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, confirmed the experts’ opinion that a ‘second wave’ of the COVID 19 is inevitable, which is typical of pandemics worldwide.
How would a ‘second wave’ further impact our economy and housing markets? What will that mean for buyers and sellers who hope to move in 2020?
We don’t yet have the answers yet … but in the meantime …
Here are our top ten tips for safely buying or selling a home in COVID-19 conditions.
- DIGITAL COMMUNICATION
Your Realtor will communicate with you through telephone, email, or video/teleconference. During this period, Realtors have been connecting virtually with their clients more than ever through FaceTime, Zoom and other videoconferencing technologies.
- DOUBLING THE VOLUME OF LISTING PHOTOS ON REALTOR.CA
As you search Canada’s most-viewed real estate website, you’ll notice that Fraser Valley listings may display up to 40 photos now, up from a previous maximum of 20. This allows your Realtor to provide more visual depth and detail for your listing.
- VIRTUAL HOME TOURS
In April, Realtor.ca introduced a new feature that allows Realtors to showcase listings by integrating video and 3D tours from multiple popular services. Since mid-April, traffic to Realtor.ca has increased by 14 per cent and inquiries to Realtors have increased by 25 per cent.
- LIVE STREAMING OPEN HOUSES
Realtors are now scheduling and promoting live stream open houses using popular platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom and YouTube. They walk through the home videoing each room describing while you watch live and in real time. “What’s behind that door?” They’ll show you.
No sharing of pens and much more efficient. For many years, Fraser Valley Realtors have guided their clients through the completion of MLS® contracts electronically using PDF and e-signature technology.
If you haven’t sold your home in a while, you may not be aware that strata documents, land title documents, floor plans and others are available digitally. Your Realtor will email them to you.
- SAFE IN-PERSON VIEWINGS
When a client is serious about a purchase, they (and their home inspector) must see the home. Per WorkSafeBC’s reopening guidelines, Realtors are working with their buyers and sellers to ensure that in-person viewings adhere to stringent safety protocols including physical distancing; handwashing and sanitizing; the use of masks and gloves; viewings by appointment only; limiting the number of viewers and allowing time to disinfect between viewings.
- DISINFECTING REALTOR/CLIENT HIGH-TOUCH SURFACES
When appropriate, Realtors are taking extra precautions to ensure that high-touch areas such as keys, lockboxes, doorknobs, handrails, elevator buttons, etc. are cleaned and disinfected.
- ENSURING REAL ESTATE OFFICES ARE SAFE TO VISIT
Like many businesses, numerous local real estate brokerages are in the process of reopening and are aware of the government’s stringent public safety guidelines including physical distancing policies, personal protective measures, and disinfection protocols.
- NEW PROVINCIAL REAL ESTATE STANDARD FORMS TO PROTECT CLIENTS
A new Notice & Acknowledgement form is available for use by your Realtor during the COVID-19 pandemic. It alerts clients of changes to the real estate practice and supports your safety by helping you make informed decisions.
If you have been considering a sale this summer but are unsure how the market will respond, reach out. We would LOVE the opportunity to assist in your decision-making process.
Jenn and Colin
For more information about how the FVREB and its 3,671 members are working to keep real estate transactions safe during the pandemic, see this dedicated page at www.fvreb.bc.ca/about/covid-19-update/
In addition, the province’s real estate licensing body, the Real Estate Council of BC has a COVID-19 page devoted to consumers.