Step 3 of the B.C. Restart Plan came into effect on July 1st. With unseasonably hot weather, sidewalk seating for restaurants has not been an ideal solution. The easing of requirements has arrived just in time for these establishments.
The continuing success of the vaccine rollout is great news; reports of new variants that seem to spread more easily, means it continues to be important to prioritize safety when working with sellers and buyers this summer.
The big news for real estate is that ‘Open Houses’ and ‘In Person Showings’ are now permitted. The real estate boards and associations in the province, together with the Real Estate Council of BC, have removed the recommendation that REALTORS® not hold open houses. Open house postings have been re-enabled on MLS®.
Safety practices for open houses will continue to focus on enforcing public health protocols. Hygiene practices will largely depend on input from home owners, tenants and the listing agent. I am not expecting to see piles of shoes on the front steps at all listings immediately.
Safety measures may continue to include some or all of the following:
- limiting the open house to serious buyers using technology to pre-screen them
- requiring that attendees wear masks and other personal protection equipment
- keeping 6’ of physical distance between everyone in attendance at all times
- employing sanitary protocols after each open house
- keeping a log of visitors for contact tracing
In some cases, REALTORS® may limit showing appointments and access for open house attendees to serious buyers by leveraging technology first, and screening to qualifying consumers who:
- are working with a REALTOR®,
- are prequalified for financing,
- have already viewed the property online through videos, 3-D renderings, etc., and
- have already viewed the neighbourhood.
Pre-registration and/or a schedule may be in place for open houses. Consumers may be asked to do the following before considering attending an open house:
- review the MLS® listing details/photos in full
- review any floor plans, 3D renderings, videos or additional information
- drive by and be familiar with the physical location of the property
- ensure they are prequalified
- bring their own masks and other personal protective equipment as required
- review the open house safety procedures, as provided by the open house host
It continues to be important to have good photos, floorplans, details of maintenance history and renovations. 3D tours have become more common.
Buyers have less time and access for tire kicking, so they need help to interpret details on property listings. Access to property history, documents, knowledge of construction details and neighborhoods all help to facilitate the buyers need to armchair search for a home.
Technology continues to help with the process. Document scanning with a smart phone and digital signing of documents are now indispensable tools.
If you have any questions, concerns or just need to chat, please pick up the phone and call me. If I can assist you in any way, don’t be afraid to ask.