What REALTORS® should know about COVID-19

Editor’s Note: Since this post was published, efforts to help contain the spread of COVID-19 have rapidly evolved. We recommend REALTORS® refer to Health Canada or other public health authorities for up-to-date guidelines, restrictions and precautions.

We understand you may have questions and concerns about doing business now that the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 is declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization.

In response, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) continues to take precautions in making sure its employees and members remain safe. The health and safety of our employees and our members remains our No. 1 priority.

With information seemingly changing by the hour, it’s imperative you follow guidelines set out by Health Canada by regularly checking the government agency’s dedicated website.

Currently, the most vulnerable population are those aged 65 and over, those with compromised immune systems and those with underlying medical conditions. We recognize many REALTORS® fall into one or more of these categories and the unique issues COVID-19 presents to the real estate industry.

Like the National Association of REALTORS®, we suggest speaking openly and honestly to sellers about the pros and cons of holding an open house and to think about alternative marketing opportunities, like virtual tours and presentations.

REALTOR.ca supports 10 virtual tour and video providers including:

  • Matterport
  • YouTube
  • iStaging
  • immoviewer
  • iGuide
  • Property Panorama
  • Real Vision
  • Vimeo
  • Imagemaker360
  • ListSimple

REALTOR.ca visitors who view videos and virtual tours are 27% more likely to reach out to a REALTOR®. Additionally, 78% of visitors who view REALTOR.ca listings click on the photos.

Interacting with clients

If you feel you must host an open house, consider requesting visitors disinfect their hands before entering the home with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. If hand sanitizer is unavailable, encourage proper handwashing with soap and water. Keep disinfecting wipes handy and use them to wipe down door handles and other high traffic areas.

You may also consider doing the following:

  • restrict open house attendance to one group at a time;
  • ask visitors to limit physically touching items in the home;
  • refrain from greeting others with handshakes or hugs;
  • encourage clients to thoroughly clean and disinfect house after open houses or viewings;
  • request clients or attendees to notify you if they become ill within two weeks of an open house or showing. If an attendee does become sick or is diagnosed with COVID-19, communicate this with the homeowner and other attendees if possible;
  • avoid sharing items such as phones, tablets or laptops;
  • meet clients in private spaces instead of public areas such as coffee shops, coworking spaces or restaurants; and
  • encourage fellow REALTORS® to provide information via email or other digital means.

Health Canada suggests practicing “social distancing”—in other words, stay in isolation if you’re showing symptoms of being sick and keep a two-metre radius from others when out in public.

We understand our industry and your day-to-day business is built upon creating relationships with your clients. Not being able to interact with them directly or in a way you’re familiar with might be challenging. That being said, we recommend all members follow the following precautions to help limit the spread of the virus:

  • Stay home if you’re showing symptoms of being sick and contact your local health agency to determine whether testing is required.
  • If you’ve recently travelled to an “affected area” or been in touch with someone who has, consider staying in self-isolation for up to 14 days.
  • Continue regularly and thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid touching your face, nose, mouth and eyes.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Practice proper coughing and sneezing etiquette.
  • Consider bringing sanitization wipes, gels or spray with you when conducting day-to-day business outside of your home or office, especially if you’re meeting with clients face-to-face.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, please don’t panic. Stay informed, prepare yourself and your family and pay attention to advice from health officials.

Matt Day brings his experience as a nationally-recognized multimedia journalist to the Canadian Real Estate Association as a Communications Advisor. Matt provides professional writing, digital media and communications support to CREA and assists in developing engaging social media content. He is regularly featured in the CREA Café where he provides interesting and entertaining content for REALTORS® to enjoy. Matt is a professional photographer but has dreams of becoming a rock star. He also enjoys mountain biking, skiing, hiking, and using the Oxford comma.


8 thoughts on “What REALTORS® should know about COVID-19”

  1. thanks. As a TREB Member, how to I embed my matterport tours onto my Realtor.ca listings?
    And while I’m asking, same goes for youtube videos.

    Thanks

      1. Is there any scenario where an Open House would be necessary? It seems we need to be more reliant on virtual meetings and electronic signing to flatten the curve. Touching should be avoided vs. limited. Ask Sellers to leave lights on and doors open to avoid the need for touching and post signs to Limit visitors, no children, no touching or using washroom, provide sanitizer and gloves at all listings. As one of only 74 essential services our actions set an example and have a big impact. Let’s be diligent – we’re in this together.

  2. What is the CREA doing to help members with fees during this time? How is the association helping its members with financial relief? What SPECIFICALLY is the CREA doing to help members aside from passing along govt information?

    1. CREA has been lobbying the federal government to secure financial help for REALTORS® and their businesses since the emergence of COVID-19. The result has been the announcement of two major measures, among several others. A more comprehensive list of the various support measures announced by government can be found here: https://www.crea.ca/what-realtors-should-know-about-covid-19/

      CREA is monitoring the implementation of these programs and will continue to advocate on behalf of REALTORS®. Stay safe and please know that we will continue to work tirelessly on your behalf.


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