The Board of Directors are tasked with ensuring that appropriate safety protocols are implemented to protect the safety of residents and guests at their properties during the current Covid19 Pandemic. While most condominium buildings are attempting to reduce access for guests to a property, the real estate industry has been deemed to be an essential service and therefore adaptations must be made so transactions can carry on safely.
Fortunately for Boards of Directors, the Ontario Real Estate Association (“OREA”) and the Canadian Real Estate Association (“CREA”) have been hard at work to adapt protocols for a real estate sale process.
Prior to listing your property, it’s important to discuss and create a plan with your realtor for safely showing or viewing properties. OREA has banned open houses for the time being. Sellers must rely on digital exposure and personal visits by appointment only. These measures reduce the number of people physically attending the property. Showings are restricted to the Buyers of the property and a strong emphasis is placed on leaving children at home. Sellers are strongly advised to supply masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer at the main entrance of the home with any other instructions to potential Buyers.
The majority of real estate brokerages have created a set of specific and mandatory documents for both Buyers and Sellers. These must be executed and provided to the Seller’s Realtor prior to entering the home. The Covid-19- Property Showing Guidelines advise on procedures for navigating the home during a showing which includes guidance on physical touching of the property and sterilization practices.
The Buyer completes a Declaration Form in which they advise whether they are currently showing any symptoms of COVID19; whether they have travelled in the past 14 days; and whether they have been in contact with anyone with symptoms. A Buyer and Seller Acknowledgement and Indemnity form releases the Brokerage from liability should either party contract Covid-19 as a direct result of selling or buying a property.
If one of the conditions of the sale of your property is a home inspection – this process is quite different as well. It is prudent to ensure that the inspector is practicing sterilization of their equipment and that they wear N95 PPE devices during the inspection. Many Inspectors will now require that the Realtor open the door for the Inspector and that the Realtor and Buyer meet with the Inspector on completion of the inspection only.
Be prepared to conduct professional meetings with your Realtor, Solicitor, Banker or other industry professionals online using digital platforms such as ZOOM. For both Buyers and Sellers utilizing the services of a professional moving company, it is prudent to screen for companies which have written protocols to ensure a safe and seamless move. Tip! Don’t pack the soap – make sure there is plenty of soap and paper towel so movers can wash their hands frequently.
For apartment style properties, it is very important to review the policies and procedures set out by the condominium corporation respecting moving in and out of the unit. All parties should be aware of the corporation’s position to prevent confusion and conflict. Expect special regulations regarding elevator bookings and increased protocols around the sterilization of the common elements (or costs associated with same.)
Before you move into your new home, it should be deep cleaned using a strong disinfectant. Many Sellers are opting to only take what is absolutely necessary and to have the remainder of their belongings sequestered to a mobile container which can be delivered to the new property at a later date.
Although the real estate market temporarily “froze” during the height of COVID19, the industry has successfully pivoted – albeit to a slower and more procedural industry. Despite these new challenges, many sellers and buyers are enjoying successful and satisfactory transactions!
Jennifer Zammit, ACCI, RCM, Licensed Realtor
Vice President, Trademark Property Management Ltd.