Guidance for conducting safe real estate transactions in Stage Two of Ontario’s Framework for Reopening the Province
With Ontario moving into Stage Two of its Framework for Reopening the Province, many of the restrictions we have been living with since March are beginning to ease, and more businesses and services will be permitted to open, along with community, recreational and outdoor spaces. And, it is giving real estate buyers and sellers the confidence to come back into the market.
In some cases, Stage Two will not change much for Ontario REALTORS®. Open houses are still prohibited, and the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) is still recommending limited in-person home showings under strict guidelines. However, brokerage offices are slowly reopening, or getting ready to, as one more step towards life as normal.
“Ontario REALTORS® are trusted professionals who have consistently put the health and safety of Ontarians before business, meeting high professional standards,” says Sean Morrison, President of OREA. “The health and safety guidelines OREA developed for Stage One have set a high standard across the province. We thank our Members for putting them into action and inspiring confidence in home buyers and sellers. Now that we are in Stage Two, it is time to update those guidelines.”
A key piece of Stage Two will be the return of agents, salespeople, support staff and clients to brokerage offices. To ensure this move is safe for all, OREA is recommending:
- The office should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before staff return.
- All business should be conducted by appointment only. Front doors should be locked to discourage walk-in visitors, with appropriate signage and screening questions posted at each entrance. Front-line staff should be provided appropriate PPE and hand sanitizer.
- In-person client meetings that do take place should respect public health measures (physical distancing, PPE, disinfecting before and after).
- Non-essential common areas should be closed off, and staff should be scheduled to stagger their time in the office, whether it is alternating days or weeks, or to continue working from home.
Further advice for REALTORS® in Stage Two includes:
- In-person open houses remain prohibited, but virtual open houses and showings are strongly encouraged. REALTORS® should continue to focus on minimizing direct contact by using digital tools and digital documents.
- Agents and salespeople are discouraged from door knocking, canvassing, using door hangers or leaving information in a home’s mailbox. Consideration should be given to using targeted social advertising to replace door knocking.
- REALTORS® are encouraged to work with condominium managers and landlords to minimize conflicts and reduce health risks around viewings of condos or tenanted properties.
OREA’s Guidance on Real Estate Transactions in Stage Two of Ontario’s Framework for Reopening the Province can be found here.