COVID-19 Update - August 2021
The Provincial Health Office’s reimposed mask mandate for indoor public settings came into effect on August 25. In response, the provincial real estate regulator, BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) has updated its COVID-19 guidance for real estate licensees.
BCFSA recommends all individuals taking part in a showing – real estate licensees, prospective buyers and occupants – wear masks while in the property and in common areas of multi-tenanted properties. Additionally, rental property and strata managers are expected to ensure building tenants and visitors are aware of the need to wear masks while in public spaces in office buildings.
Throughout the pandemic, realtors have worked hard to ensure the health and safety of all parties during transactions. Clear and open communication has been, and will continue to be, a priority.
As always, feel free to reach out should you have any question about COVID protocols or other real estate concerns.
Stay safe, stay well,
Leah @ RE/MAX
COVID-19 Update - January 2021
BC’s realtors continue to act in everyone’s best interest and do everything we can to ensure guidelines are being followed.
BC’s Public Health Officer has extended the order on province-wide restrictions in response to the second wave of COVID-19. All events and social gatherings are suspended to reduce COVID-19 transmission related to social interactions and travel; the order remains in place until February 5, 2021 at midnight.
The Real Estate Council of BC continues to advise that no open houses be held while restrictions remain in place. Virtual tools are still being used whenever possible. Any in-person showings must follow all Public Health Office orders, including the mandatory use of masks and appropriate social distancing during showings.
As always, please get in touch should you have any question about COVID protocols or any other real estate concerns.
Be well and safe,
Leah @ RE/MAX
COVID-19 Update - November 2020
As we enter BC’s second wave and infections continue to rise, be assured that realtors are doing everything to ensure clients are safe and the province’s guidelines are being followed.
On November 7, the Provincial Health Officer issued an order limiting social interactions in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. British Columbia Real Estate Association and the Real Estate Council of British Columbia now strongly recommend against open houses throughout the province and are revising guidance on safer showings to reflect that no more than six people may attend an event in or at a private residence.
While we continue to use virtual tools whenever possible, following are 10 best practices that realtors implement to help make certain we’ve assessed, prepared for and helped prevent potential health risks to our clients, our colleagues and ourselves during showings.
- Consider clients’ best interests first. Discuss different risk factors, make an informed decision about showings and take precautions (masks, distancing) to reduce some risks.
- Understand and stay informed of safety protocols. Keep apprised of public health orders and other changes to safety guidelines. The Real Estate Council of BC has also created COVID-19 information for consumers and additional resources for real estate professionals.
- Clearly communicate and document safety protocols. Post updates on websites and in e-newsletters.
- Reduce in-person interactions by leveraging technology.
- Pre-screen buyers before booking showings. Limit showings to serious buyers (i.e., those working with a realtor, those who have listed or sold a current home, those who are prequalified and have the means to purchase).
- Plan in advance. Confirm attendees will follow the public health order and safety protocols.
- Keep safety in mind during the showing. Before entering the property, confirm that the home has been cleaned and that common spaces are disinfected. Keep windows open, allow for distancing.
- Consider requirements of multi-tenanted properties. Discuss with the seller any strata safety protocols to be aware of, common areas, safe spacing, etc.
- Safely conclude showings. Leave lights on and windows and interior doors as found to minimize touchpoints in the home. Follow up to ensure proper sanitization procedures have been carried out. Disinfect keys and lockboxes on exiting the home.
- Anticipate and respond to community concerns. Communicating clearly about the precautions and safety protocols helps members of the public understand that all are acting responsibly to protect everyone’s health and safety.
Should you have any question about this or other protocols and real estate information, please feel free to get in touch with me directly.
Be well and safe,
Leah @ RE/MAX
COVID-19 Update - September 2020
More than three months into the province’s Restart Plan, adhering to strict safety guidelines is still a top priority. In fact, it has never been more important that we all do our part to keep the numbers down as we head into autumn and the cold and flu season.
As realtors, the safety of our clients is always paramount. Since the provincial government announced on March 26 that real estate agents are considered an essential service in BC, we have continued to adapt our practices so that we remain in compliance with the provincial health officer and WorkSafeBC.
For a detailed list of protocols and guidelines for those providing services related to real estate, including real estate professionals and home inspectors, please click here.
The British Columbia Real Estate Association’s “Notice and Acknowledge” form introduced on April 24, 2020, for use during COVID-19 remains in place, and you may be presented with it during your buying or selling process. To view the form, click here.
Despite economic uncertainty, BC’s housing market is doing much better than initial projections suggested. As noted in a recent article, the COVID-19 recession has seen “a remarkably swift rebound” to multi-year highs. The report by British Columbia Real Estate Association’s (BCREA) chief economist, Brendon Ogmundson, cites several reasons for this unprecedented trend. To find out more details, read my blog “Pandemic Economics and BC’s Housing Market.”
As always, my priority – and promise – is to guide you safely and successfully through your real estate transactions. Whether buying or selling property during these extraordinary times, I’m here to answer any questions you may have.
Take good care,
Leah @ RE/MAX
COVID-19 Update - May 2020
It goes without saying that the on-going pandemic crisis has changed the way many of us conduct business and communicate with one another. Handshakes and in-person appointments have been replaced with Zoom meetings and a need for social distancing.
Normally spring and summer are busy months when it comes to selling or buying homes, but with the current situation and ambiguity in the market, this year has presented additional unique challenges to both clients and Realtors.
The provincial government announced on March 26 that real estate agents are considered an essential service in BC. However, being an essential service does not mean it is business as usual. This recognition grants Realtors the privilege to continue to practice real estate in a socially responsible manner with strict adherence to the provincial health office’s orders. These orders are changing and evolving, and Realtors – together with their clients – have an obligation to know, understand and follow them.
These are uncertain times. Should you need to, please feel free to contact me to discuss how to responsibly achieve your real estate needs. We can discuss alternative approaches to in-person interactions, such as virtual showings and other technology-based solutions.
The British Columbia Real Estate Association introduced a “Notice and Acknowledge” form on April 24, 2020, for use during COVID-19. As a buyer or a seller, you may be presented with this form to review from your Realtor during your buying or selling process. Click here to view the form.
Following are the steps my clients can expect when it comes to selling or buying:
Selling your home: An IGUIDE Premium Presentation Package is offered to all clients who are selling; this package provides an immersive and engaging online experience for potential home buyers. Every IGUIDE includes property photos, floor plans, room measurements, area calculations, neighbourhood information and a 3-D immersive tour. Buyers can virtually visit your home with few disruptions to you and your family. Listing documents and offer-to-purchase documents can be reviewed and signed using Authentasign, an online platform for electronic signatures. If a buyer has reviewed the IGUIDE and done a drive by to ensure the location and neighbourhood meet their needs, an in-person showing may be requested. This can be accomplished taking into consideration appropriate health and safety guidelines (e.g., masks, gloves, etc.). If necessary, I can/will be present with home showings.
Buying a home: It has never been more important to be prepared as a buyer. Sellers would prefer only qualified buyers view their home. Having all documentation in order pertaining to a pre-approval is a must, so touch base with your mortgage professional. Review the homes you are interested in online, particularly the photos, videos and floor plans. Plan to do a drive by to make sure you like the look of the home and neighbourhood. Ask all the necessary pertinent questions before an in-person viewing is required. If you are house shopping online because you do not live in the Comox Valley, hopefully a local family member or friend can do a drive by for you. Offer-to-purchase documents can be reviewed and signed online using Authentasign. Home inspectors are still available and working. Be assured, I will be with your every step of the way during the home-buying process.
I am here for you. My goal – and promise – is to guide you safely whether buying or selling property during these unprecedented and challenging times. Contact me with any questions or concerns that you may have. We will get through this together.
Leah @ RE/MAX