News Release: Top ten tips for safely buying or selling a home during COVID-19

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Thinking of putting your home on the market? You’re not alone. As of May 25th, new listings in the Fraser Valley have increased by over 46 per cent compared to the same period in April.

And last month, even though transactions were down significantly compared to April of last year, on average on a daily basis, 23 families in the Fraser Valley relied on the guidance and advice from their REALTOR® and purchased a new home, while on average, 47 sellers per day listed their home.

Chris Shields is the President of the FVREB. “Housing needs do not stop during a pandemic. It’s why we were declared an essential service early on and why the real estate industry was included in BC’s phased reopening for businesses.”

“We have been working hard since the beginning of the lockdown to serve our clients in innovative and effective ways that limit personal interaction yet showcase homes and facilitate sales,” added Shields.

If you are currently considering buying or selling a home, here are the top ten actions REALTORS® are taking to meet WorkSafeBC’s new guidelines to serve the public:

1. DIGITAL COMMUNICATION
Your Realtor will communicate with you through telephone, email, or video/teleconference. During this period, Realtors have been connecting virtually with their clients more than ever through FaceTime, Zoom and other videoconferencing technologies.

2. DOUBLING THE VOLUME OF LISTING PHOTOS ON REALTOR.CA
As you search Canada’s most-viewed real estate website, you’ll notice that Fraser Valley listings may display up to 40 photos now, up from a previous maximum of 20. This allows your Realtor to provide more visual depth and detail for your listing.

3. VIRTUAL HOME TOURS
In April, Realtor.ca introduced a new feature that allows Realtors to showcase listings by integrating video and 3D tours from multiple popular services. Since mid-April, traffic to Realtor.ca has increased by 14 per cent and inquiries to Realtors have increased by 25 per cent.

4. LIVE STREAMING OPEN HOUSES
Realtors are now scheduling and promoting live stream open houses using popular platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Zoom and YouTube. They walk through the home videoing each room describing while you watch live and in real time. “What’s behind that door?” They’ll show you.

5. E-TRANSACTIONS
No sharing of pens and much more efficient. For many years, Fraser Valley Realtors have guided their clients through the completion of MLS® contracts electronically using PDF and e-signature technology.

6. E-DOCUMENTS
If you haven’t sold your home in a while, you may not be aware that strata documents, land title documents, floor plans and others are available digitally. Your Realtor will email them to you.

7. SAFE IN-PERSON VIEWINGS
When a client is serious about a purchase, they (and their home inspector) must see the home. Per WorkSafeBC’s reopening guidelines, Realtors are working with their buyers and sellers to ensure that in-person viewings adhere to stringent safety protocols including physical distancing; handwashing and sanitizing; the use of masks, gloves and shoe covers; viewings by appointment only; limiting the number of viewers and allowing time to disinfect between viewings.

8. DISINFECTING REALTOR/CLIENT HIGH-TOUCH SURFACES
When appropriate, Realtors are taking extra precautions to ensure that high-touch areas such as keys, lockboxes, doorknobs, handrails, elevator buttons, etc. are cleaned and disinfected.

9. ENSURING REAL ESTATE OFFICES ARE SAFE TO VISIT
Like many businesses, numerous local real estate brokerages are in the process of reopening and are aware of the government’s stringent public safety guidelines including physical distancing policies, personal protective measures, and disinfection protocols.

10. NEW PROVINCIAL REAL ESTATE STANDARD FORMS TO PROTECT CLIENTS
A new Notice & Acknowledgement form is available for use by your Realtor during the COVID-19 pandemic. It alerts clients of changes to the real estate practice and supports your safety by helping you make informed decisions.

For more information about how the FVREB and its 3,671 members are working to keep real estate transactions safe during the pandemic, see our dedicated page at www.fvreb.bc.ca/about/covid-19-update/

In addition, the province’s real estate licensing body, the Real Estate Council of BC has a COVID-19 page devoted to consumers.

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