Guidelines for the Real Estate Sector during COVID-19
This guidance has been developed to assist real estate agencies in formulating guidelines for their businesses and agents in preparation for the new normal as restrictions begin to ease around the TCI.
Employee & Sales Agent Team Members’ Responsibilities
Team Members without symptoms of COVID-19 are allowed to work at the office if they adhere to the following protocols: Please contact Team Members via WhatsApp Chat group before arrival to be sure the number of persons in office permits social distancing. This will vary from office to office.
In Office Protocol
- Mask & Hand Sanitizer – when outside your home, always travel with your own personal mask and hand sanitizer.
- Arrival at the office - Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds upon arrival to the office and also whenever you touch your face, cough or sneeze.
- Practice Physical Distancing – keep a minimum distance of at least 6 feet from fellow team members and customers.
- Wipe Down Your Devices – upon arrival at the office, wipe down your work station including phone and desk top with a disinfectant cloth or with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue into a covered garbage receptacle and wash your hands, or sneeze/cough into your elbow.
- Inform Management if you feel any symptoms of COVID‐19 such as fever, trouble breathing, dry cough, fatigue, sore throat, aches and pains.
- STAY HOME even if you feel you have just mild symptoms of COVID-19.
Before Conducting In-Person Showings
- In person showing should be done in accordance with public health policies and guidelines by adhering to social distancing measures of staying 2 metres (6 feet) apart when conducting in-person showings.
- Encourage buyers to narrow their property search through photos, virtual tours, and leveraging other technology to reduce the number of in-person showings.
- Consider adopting a policy of asking all buyers for a pre-qualification letter to limit in-person showings only to qualified and serious buyers.
- Consider implementing different precautions for occupied properties versus vacant properties.
- Discuss with a seller the precautions that will be taken when showing their property, and adhere to any specific requirements requested by sellers showing the property.
- Require property showings by appointment, in lieu of open houses, to reduce the number of persons in a property at any given time.
- Request both the seller and potential buyers to self-disclose whether they have COVID-19 or exhibit any symptoms. However, note that COVID-19 is also spread by individuals who are asymptomatic.
- Be aware of any public health guidance on the number of people who may be present at the showing, and discourage non-essential parties from attending the showing.
- Ask buyers to remain in their vehicle until you arrive at the property.
- For owner or tenant-occupied properties, request that the seller or tenant open all cabinets, closets, window coverings, and to turn on lights before leaving the property.
- For vacant properties, arrive early to open the front door, open all cabinets, closet, window coverings, and to turn on lights.
During In-Person Showings
- Adhere to social distancing recommendations, and maintain a minimum of six feet of space between persons at all times.
- Avoid shaking hands with clients.
- Limit the number of persons who may attend a showing.
- Require all persons entering a property to immediately wash their hands or to use hand sanitizer, remove footwear or wear booties, and wear a face mask or covering, and gloves.
- Instruct buyers and others touring the home to avoid touching any surfaces in the home, such as light switches, cabinets and door handles.
- Instruct buyers and guests not to use bathroom facilities at the property.
- Do not share phones, pens, or tablets or other personal property during the showing.
- Comply with any requirements of the seller during the showing.
After Showing Property
- Wipe down any surfaces touched during the showing with a sanitizing wipe or disinfecting cleaner, as requested by seller, and suggest the seller also disinfect the property.
- Wipe down the key and lockbox with a sanitizing wipe or disinfecting cleaner after use.
- Speak with buyers outside of the property or in a ventilated area while maintaining a distance of 6 feet, or arrange to speak by phone or email.
- Do not provide any paper documents, and instead follow up with any information electronically after you leave the property.
- Use hand sanitizer upon returning to your vehicle.
- Maintain a detailed log of interactions to enable contact tracing, to include names, dates, and locations of interactions, as well as a party’s contact information
As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, the Ministry of Health will provide updates if any additional precautions are recommended.