Technology more important than ever to alternative marketing strategies
During this time, it’s important to think more clearly, practice social distancing and be diligent about keeping ourselves, our loved ones and everyone else healthy.
To that end, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) issued a COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guidance to its 56,000 realtor members as it relates to trading in real estate. The key message is to avoid in-person business, such as open houses and showings with clients, during the provincial state of emergency. This includes home sellers, buyers, tenants and business clients.
TRREB continues to strongly advise its members to refrain from face-to-face real estate practices during the state of emergency, as they continue to satisfy their ethical duties to their clients.
Using technology, TRREB encourages its members to engage in alternative marketing strategies, such as video and virtual tours wherever possible, and to continue to follow directives and guidance being given by the government and public health agencies.
Realtors have a responsibility to protect their own safety, as well as the safety of their colleagues, clients, and the general public. Members should adapt their practice to ensure that their professional activities are safe and comply with all guidance provided by Health Canada, the Province of Ontario and medical professionals.
Real estate was included as one of the essential workplaces by the Ontario government. This was primarily to ensure people who had already bought or sold a home, but are still in the process of finding a new home or selling their existing property, were not left in limbo during the provincial shutdown.
Clients and other consumers are subject to the state of emergency and best practices advisory from governments and public health agencies, and should not be visiting properties for open houses, in particular. Many aspects of the homebuying and selling process can continue to occur without in-person contact, including documentation and signing, and in many circumstances, closings. As of press time, we’re still at a critical phase with this pandemic, and we all have to do our part to be successful in confronting this challenge in order to protect the health and safety of all.
In light of provincial government restrictions on public gatherings and guidance regarding social distancing, TRREB is also doing its part to limit face-to-face contact by suppressing public open houses for the time being on its Stratus MLS System, and removing them from public facing websites such as trreb.ca and realtor.ca, until it is safe to restore.
The FAQ developed addresses questions surrounding real estate issues related to the provincial shutdown, such as:
- What it means to declare real estate an “essential” service
- Showings and open houses
- Related businesses such as movers, lawyers, financial Institutions and construction
- Disclosure of potential COVID-19 exposure
- Questions realtors can ask clients or others they interact with in their real estate business
- Title insurance
- What lenders and mortgage insurers are doing
- Impact on municipalities, planning matters, Committee of Adjustment delays and property taxes, and
- TRREB operations.
We encourage you to take a look at the full TRREB FAQ with answers on trreb.ca.
Michael Collins is president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 54,500 professional realtor members in the Greater Toronto Area. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For updates on the real estate market, visit trebhome.com.