Coronavirus and Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate
(How It’s Not Business As Usual Under COVID-19)
It’s been a struggle to watch our local real estate market largely put on freeze under the state of emergency. Our business sector like so many others has been deeply affected by the coronavirus. Furthermore, prior to the spread of the virus inside of Canada, Kitchener-Waterloo was on pace for another record-setting year in the growth of property value. Now, some of those gains are already in question and maybe diminishing… in short, the market is in a state of flux until we are able to sort out a path forward for the economy to start. We will continue to be providing updates on the local market throughout this unfolding development.
Keeping Things In Perspective…
Business aside, we can be so thankful for our healthcare system. Our doctors, nurses and support staff have been asked to deal with a tremendous crisis. We have our busy days in real estate but reading about the strain our healthcare system is being put under keeps that in perspective, their efforts are heroic. It is our job to follow the protocols laid out by Health Canada. With that in mind, we’ve outlined our current operating strategy below. Simply put, to maintain essential service in the safest manner possible. Contact Us to discuss this further.
Real Estate Is Essential But…
Recognizing that a wholesale closure of real estate trading would cause compounding legal problems, the Ontario government has listed real estate as an essential service. This is largely to facilitate the closure of existing contracts on properties. Some consumers had sold already and needed to buy a house even as the provincial government was shutting down non-essential businesses, others may need to sell a property for financial or employment-related reasons. The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) has summarized the new operating procedure as follows:
“Although real estate trading services may continue, this is clearly not “business as usual.” Ontario remains under a state of emergency and registrants have a duty to follow the direction of health officials to minimize direct physical interaction. Embracing digital technology is essential in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
There are many other situations during a real estate trade that typically involve personal contact, such as signing documents and in-person client communications. We strongly recommend that registrants look at technological solutions that can significantly reduce or eliminate the need for these in-person interactions, and discuss alternatives with their clients.”
Each individual client’s needs will be different in light of the given circumstances. For Buyers, we are encouraging drive-by viewings and virtual tours before in-home showings. Safety precautions are being taken for in-person showings including the recommendation of personal protection such as masks and gloves. It goes without saying but now is not the time for house touring and Open Houses have been restricted by the government. Sellers will want to consider vacating their home while the property is being listed. Benjamins Realty has also successfully negotiated the sale of property during this crisis by restricting viewing of the property to those who can provide an acceptable offer conditional on inspection thereby removing the need for showings. Contact Us directly to learn how we can customize real estate services to your needs in this extraordinary time. We have a host of digital strategies and communication tools, 95%+ of our business can be conducted online. Thankfully we’ve had plenty of experience dealing with overseas clients, we’ve managed to sell property without ever meeting in-person long before the Corona Virus. Not used to conducting business over email and e-meetings? Not to worry, we are here to help and a phone call away.
Stay safe everyone, sincerely Jake, Mark and John Benjamins.