Real Estate During the COVID-19 Threat

03 April 2020
Ela Napiorkowski

Couple Searching Toronto Real Estate during COVID-19

With the threat of the COVID-19 virus, we are all cooperating by staying indoors, limited to social contact of a virtual variety only, and it is certainly important to stay home to flatten the curve of the virus’ spread. While many of us try to get used to spending this much time at home, there are others who are still needing to move homes during the pandemic.

The GTA and Peel real estate market during the COVID-19 threat has, like everything else, changed dramatically in recent weeks. What was an incredibly busy spring market at the mid-point of March quickly slowed its pace by the end of the month, with numerous sellers pulling their listings and less buyers joining the market.

That isn’t to say that you cannot sell or buy a home in GTA or Peel  today – buying and selling a home is, after all, an essential service – which is why I thought I would share with you the best ways to navigate your real estate sale or purchase during the COVID-19 threat. Let me, Ela Napiorkowski, Real Estate Broker for RE/MAX Professionals Inc. Brokerage, provide you with the details necessary to not only have a successful sale or purchase of a home during these very difficult times, but also, more importantly, accomplish this in the safest way possible. 

First, obvious things first

While at this point this should be obvious, I still need to state this: if you are feeling at all sick, then you need to stay home. You may only have a slight cough, but if you are therefore carrying the virus, you can too easily pass it on to others – viewings or meetings of any kind should be off the table for you in this case. We need to flatten the curve of COVID-19, not fatten it – let’s take zero chances

As we should, stay home

With the threat of the COVID-19 virus, social-distancing has become the social norm, and with Toronto real estate, this is no different. Rather than meeting your realtor for an update and discussion at a local cafe, video conferencing should be your main form of contact. Utilize email, text messaging, and the phone; when documents require signatures, sign them electronically. Connecting virtually is how your contact with everyone involved in the sale or purchase of a home needs to take place.

There are though, a few necessary exceptions. Visits by various professionals will need to take place. A house for sale may still require staging. While open houses are certainly not going to happen, private, scheduled viewings can. In all cases, the home owner and realtor need to be hyper-responsible for their own health and the health of their visitors. 

Visiting professionals

Whether it’s your realtor, inspectors, or movers, there will be necessary visits from professionals as your home goes to market. These can and will be limited to only the necessary visits, but they will take place. As a home owner, you need to be diligent in how you approach the visits.

Refrain from scheduling two visits at the same time, as you want to limit any sizable gathering (no more than 5 people). Ensure that you have safety measures onsite (latex gloves and hand sanitizer), and request that every visitor sanitize their hands upon arrival and wear the gloves throughout their visit. As an owner, be sure to clean the items visitors may have touched (door handles, stair railings, etc.) after they have left. 

Staging

With only you, the realtor or decorator, and two movers needing to be at the house for the staging, this visit, like all others, can maintain itself as a less than 5 person gathering. The house should be disinfected before and after the staging has been set up, focusing on door knobs, stair railings, and any surfaces that required touching. As like above, provide latex gloves for everyone involved, along with alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after.

Private viewings

Private viewings can be limited to less than 5. As with every type of visit here, limit the number of people in the house to a maximum of 4 or 5 people, and please try to ensure latex gloves and hand sanitizer are supplied, and clean the house before and after any viewing.

It is important that you and your real estate agent schedule viewings intelligently, to ensure social-distancing practises are upheld. Request that buyers arrive no earlier than 5 minutes before their scheduled time, and schedule their viewing’s end time a half an hour before any subsequent viewing is scheduled to allow a large buffer period between viewings. This will ensure that viewings do not bump into each other. If buyers do show up early, ask them to wait in their car, and that you will come and get them, once the house has been properly sanitized after the previous viewing.

The home owner and/or realtor should also limit potential buyers to touching only door knobs and stair railings. Anything that needs to be opened can be opened by the home owner and realtor. Upon their arrival, request visitors to ask you or your realtor to open something for them to see, rather than open it themselves. Not only is this responsible, but it will also decrease the amount of cleaning required after the visit.

The Toronto real estate market during COVID-19 might be slow, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t operating. Navigating the GTA and Peel market during this crisis is something that can be done safely as long as you are conscious of the risks and responsible in how you handle them. Most importantly, practising physical distancing (6 feet or 2 meters) and washing your hands thoroughly and regularly are key to navigating real estate today and everyday life during the COVID-19 outbreak.

If you’re looking to sell or buy a home in Toronto during the COVID-19 outbreak, please call me, Ela Napiorkowski, your Real Estate Broker for RE/MAX Professionals Inc. Brokerage, (416) 841-2356, as I am an experienced real estate broker in the GTA and Peel market, and am adamant about my clients’ health and safety during these challenging times. Not only will we accomplish what you need to, but we will do it in the safest way for all involved.

*Please keep in mind that we should stay cautious and be aware of the safety measures being recommended on a regular basis, provided via medical advice of our medical professionals and the Government during these challenging and difficult times. So please stay vigilant and informed as much as possible.

Stay safe – stay strong.