Ontario Lockdown - What it means for Home Sellers
Thursday Jan 14th, 2021
The Ontario government has declared the State of Emergency for the province that started on 12:01 am 14 Jan 2021 and in effect until at least February 11, 2021. Everyone should observe stay at home and business revert to virtual or work at home models. The declaration was made for a purpose: lower mobility and contacts to lower the explosion of COVID-19 cases that is steadily on the rise and can be catastrophic before the vaccine has been distributed to most of the province’s population.
This has some businesses, including real estate to have changes in their operations. For real estate, there are two items:
- Short-term rentals for recreational purposes are off the table as of January 12, 2021. Bookings made before January 12 are allowed to proceed.
- Renovations started before January 12 can proceed, but if the shovels are not in the ground yet, your reno project will have to wait.
These changes can affect some aspects of the real estate industry - however, buying and selling homes can still be doable as long as the set rules in conducting transactions during the first wave are observed. As OREA stated, they highly recommend spending all digital and virtual means in communicating with clients and completing transactions. Below are the other general guidelines for home sellers, homebuyers, and realtors.
- Masks are now required to be worn at all times on both indoors and outdoors.
- Open houses are at a full stop - no exceptions.
- Avoid in-person transactions and revert to virtual or digital means to hold meetings, house tours, sign documents, etc.
- Showings are permitted by appointment only and are restricted - wearing PPE, clean and sanitize, and limited allowable people are encouraged.
- Real estate brokerages and offices can remain open - but are advised to allow work from home arrangements
- Ancillary services and how to deal with staging, photographers, and other services to help sell homes guidelines are to be established as soon as possible.
What does this mean to home sellers?
- Homebuyers have embraced virtual tours to make their purchase decision. A poll for OREA showed about 50% of home buyers have adapted to virtual tours in purchasing their new homes. This means home sellers can prepare their virtual tours with their real estate agents to entice attention and make their listing more attractive to potential buyers.
- Save time on transactions and paperwork. Virtual meetings have become the norm in conducting meetings to close a sale or meet potential buyers. This cuts the costs of travel, time, and meeting setups. With digital documents and signing now acceptable, it quickens the pace of closing deals and signing contracts.
- Wider audience reach. With your online marketing in social media, there can be a wider reach in terms of potential buyers. Some people are now looking into different locations outside of the major cities so any listing in the suburbs or outside of a large metropolis can get more attention with the right online marketing strategy.
Although the recent lockdown can make it seem daunting to sell your home, it should not stop you from selling or preparing to sell your home in these restricted times. You can consult with a professional realtor to help you navigate the new ways real estate has adapted in the midst of the pandemic. Talk to JoAnn Visaretis on selling your home to get you started. Stay safe, healthy, and vigilant.
*Disclaimer: All information can change after the article has been published due to the ever-changing regulations in place due to COVID-19. Information found here should not be the basis of any legal decisions. Consult your own legal counsel.