The World Health Organization (WHO) has assessed COVID-19 as a global pandemic, and the province of Ontario has declared a state of emergency.
Everyone has a role to play in reducing the impact of COVID-19. Real estate trades typically involve a significant amount of personal contact, particularly during showings, open houses, and in-person client communications. However, in the current environment, public health authorities are strongly encouraging social distancing. This is advice that should be taken seriously by every professional that works with the public.
It’s particularly important to understand how COVID-19 spreads and how to reduce the risk of illness.
Guidance for Open Houses and Showings
As a registered professional, it is your duty to support your clients in making an informed choice about hosting or attending open houses and showings.
Speak openly and honestly with your clients so that they can weigh the risks against the possible marketing benefits. In making that decision, they will want to consider the area of the province they are in, and the advice of health authorities (local, provincial and federal). This is particularly important for clients who are in high-risk groups, such as the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.
They should also understand that there are alternative online and virtual marketing opportunities for sellers that can easily be accessed by buyers.
Though it is your client’s decision whether to hold an open house, you can decline to proceed if you are not comfortable with the risk to your health. As always, you should discuss the services you are prepared to offer with your clients.
In addition, before a showing or open house, you should seek to confirm whether any occupants of the property (owners or tenants) are ill, under self-isolation, have recently travelled out of the country or may have been exposed to COVID-19.