Congratulations on making it to the first sentence of this article. I say that with tongue firmly planted in cheek because I know these days, when I read those five capital letters, C-O-V-I-D, I hear white noise and want to tune out. I will try to give you some succinct but important tips surrounding the COVID real estate realities in 2021, as we all try to keep the doors open for real estate transactions and keep everyone safe.
Restriction Roller CoasterAt the time of writing, restrictions in Alberta are in flux…again. However, the temporary relaxation of government restrictions or the re-imposing of restrictions does not change your obligations to your clients. As professionals, REALTORS® have an obligation to adhere to provincial or local ordinances around COVID safety at minimum. As a REALTOR®, you have a duty of lawful obedience to your client. And, as you may have noticed, not all Albertans agree on the path forward, through, or out of the pandemic.
Working with SellersWhen working with sellers, be sure to ask specific questions about their comfort with COVID safety protocols surrounding people visiting their home for the purpose of selling. This includes asking if they want special restrictions for showings, such as limiting the number of people present, or requiring buyers to answer health qualifying questions prior to entering the home. If you don’t ask, you simply don’t know if your sellers have specific anxieties or health conditions that might make them more adverse to the risk of infection.
Once you have your seller client's instructions, you must make their showing instructions clear to all REALTOR® members through the MLS® system remarks and/or showing instructions, so that your REALTOR® peers can ensure compliance.
Working with BuyersSimilarly, have a candid conversation with your buyers about their own health-related COVID concerns, specifically how it relates to viewing homes of sellers who may or may not have the same feelings about COVID safety protocols as they do. You should also inform them immediately, as part of your process, if the seller has given specific requirements to find out if the buyer is comfortable agreeing to those requirements. Your client has the final say if they are comfortable visiting a home. Make sure you always seek instruction from them before proceeding with booking showings and be extra diligent about following sellers’ instructions found in the MLS® system remarks and/or showing instructions.
Working with YourselfAs a REALTOR®, you are also a party to this process and have your own comfort level with COVID protocols to consider. If you are uncomfortable with showing or listing a property without certain safety protocols in place, make sure you share those protocols with your clients. Be prepared with a backup plan in case sellers or buyers want to work outside your desired protocols, so you can refer them to an associate who will be comfortable helping them.
As a final note, consider sharing your personal COVID protocols with your broker so they can help you navigate the fluid global landscape around COVID-19. REALTORS® have a role in ensuring listings, showings, and inspections take the highest possible standard of safety as a public-facing industry. In accordance with today’s government restrictions: mask up and stay safe.
September is REALTOR® Safety Month. Visit the National Association of REALTORS® for more safety tips and tricks.
Provincial Practice Advisor
Bryan has many years of experience in the real estate industry including over 10 years as a former broker in the Edmonton Region.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone: 403-209-3619