Step 3 of the B.C. Restart Plan came into effect on July 1st. Covid numbers were looking good. Unfortunately, the Delta variant has resulted in a significant increase in daily case numbers. Further relaxation of restrictions in Phase 4 that was anticipated for the fall is now on hold.
The BC Government announced that beginning August 25 people 12 and older – both vaccinated and unvaccinated – will be required to wear a mask in indoor public spaces.
The government also announced that proof of vaccination through a provincial vaccine card will be required for participation in discretionary activities beginning on September 13.
BCREA is currently seeking more information about the mask mandate and vaccine card as they relate to real estate transactions. In the meantime, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) now recommends REALTORS® and clients once again wear masks while conducting open houses and private showings.
‘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®.
As always, it will be up to the home owners to direct the listing agent on how they want to have their home shown to prospective buyers.
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.