April 15, 2020

Buying and selling real estate during the COVID-19 pandemic

The BC government has named REALTORS® an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic. This designation doesn’t mean that it’s business as usual.

It means that your Realtor is duty bound to practice real estate in a socially responsible manner that’s in strict adherence to the provincial health officer’s orders.  

These orders are changing often, so talk to your Realtor about how you can meet your housing needs while following BC’s social distancing requirements.

For example, your Realtor can discuss alternative approaches to in-person interactions, such as virtual showings, document signings and other technology-based solutions.

Livestreamed open houses

Realtylink.org now allows Realtors to advertise livestreamed open houses.

A livestream open house provides a virtual opportunity to see a home and chat with the listing Realtor through a live video feed.

This will allow you to view homes while avoiding in-person interactions.

How to find livestreamed open houses

If you’re looking for livestreamed open houses, simply select the option from the search filters.

You can also find them using the map.

If you’re selling your home and want to hold a livestreamed open house, talk to your Realtor.

Open houses will cautiously resume across BC under new safety guidelines.

On July 7, real estate boards and associations across the province, together with the Real Estate Council of BC, removed their joint recommendation that REALTORS® refrain from holding open houses, a recommendation that had been in place since the middle of March.

This decision was made in consultation with WorkSafe BC and came with new safety guidelines for Realtors to follow.

“This change doesn’t mean a return to pre-pandemic practices,” Colette Gerber, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Chair said. “Since the pandemic began, Realtors have been adopting new technologies and practices to follow through on our commitment to do what we can to help prevent the spread of illness. This commitment hasn’t changed. If home sellers and their Realtors decide to hold an open house, they’ll need to strictly follow the safety precautions that have been carefully crafted and vetted by WorkSafeBC.”

The open house guidelines outline the steps that Realtors must follow to ensure necessary physical distancing, hygiene and other safety practices are maintained.

If you attend an open house this summer, you can expect to see:

  • A visitor log for contact tracing
  • Handwashing stations
  • Direction on the use of personal protection equipment, like face masks
  • Restrictions on the number of people allowed into the home at one time
  • Rules requiring that you not touch anything inside the home
  • Signage outlining the physical distancing and other safety requirement

BC’s open house safety guidelines for Realtors is available online.

If you’re a seller looking to hold an open house, or a buyer looking to attend one, contact your Realtor. 

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