FAQ

Buying and Selling During cOVID-19

The Government of Ontario ordered all non-essential businesses to close by 11:59 PM on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The government has deemed real estate an essential service, but that doesn’t mean a return to “business as usual.” 

Ontario remains under a state of emergency, and Realtors have a duty to follow the direction of health officials to minimize direct physical interaction.

 Stay informed with our latest Covid-19 Blog Posts below, and check back often as we’ll be updating the FAQ’s in the days ahead.

Selling during Covid-19

Yes.

However, we are only taking listings on a case by case basis and only for those who MUST sell during this time. We’ll be conducting as much of the business as possible online (meetings, consultations etc) in an effort to minimize face to face interactions, and are implementing strict protocols and limitations for in-person showings.

Yes.

The Ontario Government has deemed Real Estate as an essential service. However, health and safety remain paramount. Health authorities have asked all Ontarians to reduce or eliminate in-person interactions. We have implemented several changes in how we work with clients during this time.

No.

As of April 3, 2020, the Ontario Government has stated that open houses are specifically prohibited during the state of emergency and shutdown.

Every person who is responsible for a business that provides real estate agent services shall ensure that the business does not host, provide or support any open house events.

https://www.ontario.ca/page/list-essential-workplaces#section-2

We have implemented several changes to our home selling process. All parties involved in the deal, (including any service providers such as photographers, stagers, appraisers and home inspectors) are required to sign a COVID-19 Disclosure form and Release before entering the property.

Since open houses are prohibited at the moment, we’re putting an emphasis on digital marketing. All listings will feature a virtual walkthrough, 50 photos, and a dedicated landing page with all property details. We also have an online chat room available to meet with and take any potential client through the home in advance of a showing.

In the event that a showing is requested, all buyers and co-operating realtors will be required to sign a COVID-19 Disclosure form and Release before entering the property. The homeowners will be asked to leave during all showings, and to leave all lights on. Only the buyer and their realtor shall be allowed in the property with a face mask and gloves. We will provide sanitary wipes and hand disinfectants in the home for the potential buyers to use when entering. At the end of each showing, we require all high contact areas of the home (doorknobs, light switches etc) to be wiped clean.

A number of businesses directly related to real estate are on the list of essential services. 

They include:

  • Moving services 
  • Businesses that provide the following financial services:
    • Capital markets and related securities trading and advisory services.
    • Banking/credit union activities including credit intermediation.
    • Insurance.
    • Land registration services.
    • Real estate agent services.
    • Pension and benefits payment services.
    • Financial services including payroll and payment processing and accounting and tax services.
  • Maintenance
    • Maintenance, repair and property management services strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings
  • Construction
    • Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space.
    • Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance.
    • Critical industrial construction activities required for,
      • the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries,
      • significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced,
      • industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance, and/or enhancement of Personal Protective Equipment, medical devices (such as ventilators), and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Residential construction projects where,
    • a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes
    • an above grade structural permit has been granted for condominiums, mixed use and other buildings, or
    • the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before April 4, 2020.
  • residential construction projects where,
    • a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes
    • an above grade structural permit has been granted for condominiums, mixed use and other buildings, or
    • the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before April 4, 2020.
  • Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure ongoing public safety.
  • Professional and social services that support the legal and justice system.

Here’s the complete list of essential workplaces:  https://www.ontario.ca/page/list-essential-workplaces#section-2

Land registry is considered essential, so real estate closings should not be impacted. In these times, its crucial for all sides to work together and keep an open mind to the changing norms of buying and selling during COVID-19.

Many of the major Banks and Lenders are providing options to help alleviate some of the financial stress. Depending on your lender, there may be options available such as:

    • Deferral of payments
    • Re-amortization of the loan
    • Capitalization of outstanding interest & costs
    • Special payment arrangements

Contact your bank or lender for specific details. 

Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is offering tools that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. Their default management tools include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses and special payment arrangements. Read their statement here.

CMHC also provides mortgage professionals with tools and the flexibility to make timely decisions including:

  • Converting a variable interest rate mortgage to a fixed interest rate mortgage to protect from a sudden interest rate increase, should one occur.
  • Offering a temporary short-term payment deferral. Mortgage professionals may be prepared to offer greater payment flexibilities, particularly if previous lump sum prepayments have been made, or if consumers have previously chosen an accelerated payment schedule.
  • Extending the original repayment period (amortization) in order to lower monthly mortgage payments.
  • Adding any missed payments (arrears) to the mortgage balance and spreading them over the remaining mortgage repayment period.
  • Offering a special payment arrangement unique to the consumer’s particular financial situation.

buying during Covid-19

Yes.

The Ontario Government has deemed Real Estate as an essential service. However, health and safety remain paramount. Health authorities have asked all Ontarians to reduce or eliminate in-person interactions. We have implemented several changes in how we work with clients during this time.

Yes.

However, we are only working with purchasers who MUST purchase during this time. We’ll be conducting as much of the business as possible online (meetings, consultations etc) in an effort to minimize face to face interactions, and are implementing strict protocols and limitations for in-person showings.

We have implemented several changes to our buying process.  All parties involved in the deal, are required to sign a COVID-19 Disclosure form and Release before entering the property.

Documents and agreements will be signed digitally and online showings are encouraged whenever possible.

We are wearing gloves and masks for all showings, and asking that our clients do the same.

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