When the province of Ontario deemed Real Estate an essential service due to corona virus in March we knew that we would have to pivot or shift in our business. Open houses were restricted as were gatherings of 5 or more people. How were we going to step up and serve our clients and customers? We began to look for creative ways to move our business forward. Just a few weeks in we have upped our technology game and are hosting our office and team meetings online using Zoom. Client meetings and house tours are also being conducted on this platform. It keeps us connected and face to face without the actual contact. Buyer clients can still view a property (or to do a final walk through) after looking at all of the online material including photography, floor plans and even a facetime walk through … we just take precautions to ensure the safety of all parties involved. In an attempt to limit the spread of Covid 19, we have developed a questionnaire to determine ones risk level and have buyers and sellers both complete so that all parties are comfortable moving forward with showing activities. We practice the recommended distance separation while at the property. Other showing precautions include wiping down the lock box, door handle and key, unlocking the property and allowing client entry without personal contact. Sellers or the showing Realtor can also leave all lights, closet doors and man doors open in order to limit personal touching as much as possible.
With these limitations and precautions in place, we understand that the market has slowed considerably. April will sure have some telling statistics and numbers. March year over year showed a very reduced number of active listings (48 for 2020 and 71 for 2019), the number of sales were slightly up (34 for 2020 and 32 for 2019). We have found more recently that allot of Buyers and Sellers have taken a break from the Buying or Selling process … they are simply waiting to see whether this has influenced the market one way or another. One thing is certain we will continue to see a volume of trade by Buyers and Sellers that need to make a move. For various reasons, this is why we have been deemed an essential service. Thus far there hasn’t been a shift from Seller to Buyer market and we are yet to see any panic selling. It is difficult to predict how this may impact the our market through the remainder of 2020, we expect that the length of restrictions may influence this.
We are hopeful that things will spring back quickly. Although spring is normally a very busy selling season we are hopeful and expect that the spring market will just come a little later this year.
There were many people wondering why the province of Ontario deemed Real Estate as an essential service. The decision was made so that we could continue to assist buyers and sellers that were already in the process of buying or selling. This also allows us to assist Buyers and Sellers who find themselves in a position where they need to Buy or Sell. Lastly, it gives us the ability to facilitate the many deals we have currently in our pipeline through to closing. Lenders and lawyers have the ability to transact electronically and approvals, mortgage documents and closing documents can all be done remotely. These many steps have been implemented to ensure that Buyers and Sellers may continue to meet their housing needs.
So …what are we telling our clients now? We can help you if you would like to start the process of Selling. We can assist in home preparation and provide market updates and professional guidance throughout the process, ensuring that you are making the right decision for you and your family. If you don’t have to make a move in the short term, you may choose to wait and prepare for when the time is right. If you are relocating or have to make a purchase, we will happily follow protocols to ensure that the home buying process is as safe and seamless as possible.
This really isn’t business as usual for us Realtors, but we are using technology and many tools and procedures to ensure that we can continue to meet and exceed your Real Estate Goals and Dreams!
***stats gathered from GDAR, residential freehold property in Centre Wellington only.