Realtors in Ontario should immediately stop holding open houses during the province’s state of emergency over COVID-19.
That’s the call from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), which issued a statement Saturday urging real estate professionals to use technology for home showings instead.
“I am calling on all Realtors to cease holding open houses during this crisis and advise their clients to cancel any that are planned,” said Sean Morrison, OREA President. “If a client has an urgent need to sell or buy a home during the COVID-19 crisis, there are other real estate tools that Realtors can use for showing a property including virtual tours. Let’s put our clients and communities first and focus on protecting the health and safety of all Ontarians.”
Follow the advice
OREA’s statement added that, while open houses are a common practice in the real estate industry that help sellers get good value for their homes, this is secondary to public health.
It has called for real estate agents to follow the clear advice of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO): “If you decide to offer services involving open houses and showings, it is your duty to support your clients in making an informed choice about hosting or attending open houses and showings.”
OREA’s Morrison gave some advice for real estate agents that are asked by home sellers to hold an open house.
“My message to my fellow Ontario Realtors is clear: you are trusted advisors and professionals. Encourage your clients to use technology that facilitates remote interactions and especially avoids large groups that can happen during open houses. Every Realtor has access to modern tools such as virtual showings, video conference calls and digital signing. Now is the time to use them or, if you can, wait until the State of Emergency is lifted,” he said.
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