OREA Asks Agents To Continue Acting With Caution As Province Reopens

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Picture: Ontario Real Estate Association

Realtors Will Continue With Limited Contact, More Use Of Virtual Tools & Electronic Documents

TORONTO: With Ontario moving into Stage Two of its Framework for Reopening the Province, it is giving real estate buyers and sellers the confidence to come back into the market, the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) said.

Many of the restrictions that citizens have been living with since March are beginning to ease, and more businesses and services are being permitted to open, along with community, recreational and outdoor spaces.

In some cases, Stage Two will not change much for Ontario REALTORS®. Open houses are still prohibited, and the Ontario Real Estate Association is still recommending limited in-person home showings under strict guidelines. However, brokerage offices are slowly reopening, or getting ready to, as one more step towards life as normal.

“Ontario REALTORS® are trusted professionals who have consistently put the health and safety of Ontarians before business, meeting high professional standards,” says Sean Morrison, President of OREA.

“The health and safety guidelines OREA developed for Stage One have set a high standard across the province. We thank our Members for putting them into action and inspiring confidence in home buyers and sellers. Now that we are in Stage Two, it is time to update those guidelines.”

A key piece of Stage Two will be the return of agents, salespeople, support staff and clients to brokerage offices. To ensure this move is safe for all, OREA is recommending:

• The office should be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before staff return.

• All business should be conducted by appointment only. Front doors should be locked to discourage walk-in visitors, with appropriate signage and screening questions posted at each entrance. Front-line staff should be provided appropriate PPE and hand sanitizer.

• In-person client meetings that do take place should respect public health measures (physical distancing, PPE, disinfecting before and after).

• Non-essential common areas should be closed off, and staff should be scheduled to stagger their time in the office, whether it is alternating days or weeks, or to continue working from home.

Further advice for REALTORS® in Stage Two includes:

• In-person open houses remain prohibited, but virtual open houses and showings are strongly encouraged. REALTORS® should continue to focus on minimizing direct contact by using digital tools and digital documents.

• Agents and salespeople are discouraged from door knocking, canvassing, using door hangers or leaving information in a home’s mailbox. Consideration should be given to using targeted social advertising to replace door knocking.

• REALTORS® are encouraged to work with condominium managers and landlords to minimize conflicts and reduce health risks around viewings of condos or tenanted properties.

OREA’s Guidance on Real Estate Transactions talks of how when deciding whether to proceed with a private showings, agents should consider whether the listing agent, REALTOR® showing the property, homeowner(s), residents or the potential purchasers have a medical condition or immune deficiency or are elderly.

The Ontario Real Estate Association represents 80,000 REALTORS® who are Members of the 37 real estate boards throughout the province. OREA’s mission is to help Ontario REALTORS® succeed in building stronger communities.

For almost one hundred years, OREA has promoted higher standards in real estate for the benefit of consumers and REALTORS® alike. As one of Canada’s largest professional associations, we are Ontario’s strongest advocate for home and property ownership, property rights, and prosperous communities. OREA serves its REALTOR® members through the production of Standard Forms, top-tier advocacy, award-winning leadership development and other services.

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