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COVID-19: The rules to follow when visiting a property

In order to limit the risk of spreading COVID-19, visiting a house for sale must be done in compliance with hygiene and social distancing measures issued by public health authorities.

As long as the health situation so requires, it will be in the buyer’s and the seller’s best interest to hold their initial talks by phone, email or video call, before even planning a visit. The idea here is to make sure that the property truly meets the buyer’s budget and needs, for instance by talking about the desired occupancy date, the property’s features and mortgage prequalification.

Don’t hesitate to go over the listing together, including the photos, the 3D virtual tour (if available) and the property description. You can also think about showing the potential buyer around the place virtually, by video call.

Follow these hygiene measures 

If the initial discussions look very promising, it’s time to make an appointment. However, it is strongly recommended to delay the visit if the buyer or someone they’ve been in contact with develops cold or flu symptoms, is waiting to receive their COVID test result and/or has travelled recently.

Red zones: Low impact on visits and new listings

Here are the best practices to follow during the visit:

  • Limit the number of people present, e.g., the owner plus one visitor at a time.
  • Maintain a 6-foot (2-metre) distance at all times.
  • The owner should open doors and cupboards to keep visitors from touching them. 
  • All parties should wash their hands before and after the visit.
  • Wearing a mask is strongly recommended.

The owner is also asked to disinfect bannisters and other possible contact surfaces in the property before the visitor arrives and after they leave. 

Avoid open houses

To help in the shared effort to slow the virus, we are asking you to not hold open houses until further notice. Organizing an open house would run counter to the public health directives that aim to limit movement and non-essential gatherings. It’s preferable to schedule individual visits with serious buyers

There is an advantage, in the current circumstances, to buying and selling a home without a go-between. The seller keeps control over the visit and avoids having a stranger touching their personal effects. And potential buyers get answers to their questions directly from the seller during the visit. Afterwards, the negotiations and the conclusion of the transaction can be done remotely thanks to the available technological tools.