How are we able to serve you in the days of Covid-19?
With the city of Ottawa announcing that the current state of emergency will continue until at least June 30th, most of us are looking forward to see what that means for our lives, families and livelihoods.
For a few people, this means that you may need to buy or sell your home. Instead of "wait and see", you now need to figure out how to make your move while still remaining safe and healthy, minimizing your potential exposure to Covid-19.
My team and I have the techniques and the tools that will let you navigate these strange times as safely as possible. As a client, you'll be able to use our tech savvy and market expertise to make your move as smooth as possible under the circumstances.
What are the main differences in the Real Estate market these days?
If someone asks you "what's happening in the market at the moment?" tomorrow, here are the main points that they need to know:
- Activity is down overall, but purchases and sales are still happening - Those who need to move can still move. Realtors, lawyers and everyone involved in the process has the tools to serve you while still keeping you safe.
- Prices are uncertain in Ottawa - For the moment they are still strong, though they will doubtless soften the longer that emergency measures are in place. There will be a rebound as isolation measures ease eventually. In both cases we don't know how much they will fall or rise. CMHC predicts a small single-digit average price increase or decrease this year relative to 2020.
- Many professionals involved in Real Estate are less accessible. - Some inspectors have taken time off during the state of emergency. Some condo boards are hard to reach. For buyers, it may be a hard time to get letters of employment from your workplace. Expect that there may be some extra legwork to assemble the professionals for your purchase or sale. My team keeps up to date on who's working and ready to serve you and will guide you safely.
- All professionals have been instructed to work non-contact wherever possible - Inspectors enter homes alone without the buyer, and appraisers don't enter the homes. Your lawyer and I can't sit with you in person to sign paperwork. It all feels a bit different, but we have the tools to make it work.
I need to sell my home. What does this look like for me?
To be blunt, don't list your home for sale unless you need to. There's mixed messaging in the real estate market, just as in much of the world at large right now. Remember that your health and safety come first, and that we all owe a duty to our families, friends and community to isolate to restrict the spread of Covid-19.
For some homeowners, there may be situations where staying put is not an option. In those situations my team and I are here to help you with care and expertise. We have systems in place to practice largely non-contact listing and ensure expert marketing and negotiation of the sale of your home. Here's what that looks and feels like.
- Education - I'll continue to post useful, clear resources and links on my site and on my social media. These help you become an educated home seller before we even begin working together. In turn, this will help you affirm your decision to move and remove much of the stress.
- Detailed opinion of value of your home. Using available resources, experience, and working together for you to give me a "virtual walkthrough" of your space, I can pinpoint the correct price range for your home and outline a marketing strategy that will attract the right buyers.
- Electronic Paperwork - All paperwork for listing, offer and negotiation can be drafted and signed electronically. My team expertly walks you through so that there is no confusion with the forms or the technology. All you need is an email address and we'll help you with the rest.
- Expert Photography and Videography - Professional photography and videography is included with all of our listings, to show your home in the best light.
- 3D Virtual Tours - To complement photography, my photographers produce amazing 3D tours that place the viewer in the home, so that they don't even need to be there to make their purchase decision.
- Virtual Walkthroughs and Open Houses - I provide virtual walkthroughs and open houses to overcome any hesitations that buyers have about placing an offer on your home.
- Targeted Marketing - Internet and social media marketing is already a big pillar of my marketing strategy for listings. Now that we're all at home, that's even more important. I employ a mix of paid and organic online marketing for your home that puts your property in front of the right buyers at the right time, helping you to sell smoothly and for the right price.
- Protecting You Through Restricted Access - Buyers and their clients are strictly qualified prior to in-person viewings, and we'll discuss whether they may be resctricted entirely until they have an accepted offer in place.
- Home Inspections are limited to only the inspector. Agents and buyers will not accompany inspectors. My suggestion in all listings will be that I include a pre-inspection by a well-regarded home inspector prior to listing.
- Consider Staying Offsite - If it's an option, consider staying offsite at a hotel or airbnb during the listing period, especially if we're using a delayed-offer marketing and pricing strategy.
I'm a homebuyer. What does this look like for me?
In short, being a homebuyer these days means that we'll be practicing non-contact real-estate wherever possible. This means no in-person contact between Buyers, Homeowners and Realtors. Here's what that looks and feels like:
- Education - I'll continue to post useful, clear resources and links on my site and on my social media. These will help you become an educated homebuyer before we even begin working together.
- Walking you through the process - Using conference software such as Zoom, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and others, my team and I can personally walk you through the process that will bring you to owning your next home. Whether it's a detailed buyer education, explaining paperwork or answering questions, you'll always have a friendly face and voice available to you.
- Mortgage Brokers - Mortgage brokers are equipped to serve you almost completely electronically, and are a much more convenient option than most banks at the moment. If you need a referral to a great mortgage broker, here's my list of go-to's.
- Lawyers - Because of the complications of buying and selling a home, make sure that your lawyer is equipped to serve you electronically. Here's my list of go-to lawyer referrals.
- Open Houses - These are expressly prohibited, which I wholeheartedly support. Instead, we'll arrange virtual showings of properties of interest.
- Showings - In the state of emergency, many home Sellers are not allowing in-person showings by buyers, a practice that we agree with and practice for our Seller clients. Instead, we'll do virtual showings:
- Wherever possible, Sellers or their agent will do a "live" Zoom showing where they can virtually walk us through the home together and answer our questions.
- Many agents have invested in high-quality photo and video tours of their listings, which will allow you to make decisions about the home before requesting a showing.
- Where needed, my team and I can visit a home in person to conduct a virtual showing ourselves. We'll generally reserve this for properties that you're considering making an offer on.
- We will not be driving around together to look at homes. In the right situations I will do a video tour of a neighbourhood to show you the area.
- If you have been out of the country, showing symptoms or exposed to someone infected with Covid-19, you will not be permitted to visit properties until you've been healthy and quarantined for an additional two weeks.
- Home inspections - Not all home inspectors are operating at this time. Contact me for current recommendations on who's still operating and able to serve you. Generally speaking, you will not be able to accompany the home inspector directly into the property. Instead, he'll conduct the inspection on his own and FaceTime with you and I as any issues arise or need to be pointed out.
- When will I get to see a home in person? - Generally speaking, we'll arrange a visit for you to occur as part of the conditions of purchase. I understand that seeing photos or a video isn't quite the same, but we'll limit in-person visits to properties that you have an accepted offer on, with the option to walk away from the purchase if the property has been misrepresented.
- Deposits will generally be done by electronic wire transfer instead of physical cheques to limit contact and because most brokerage offices have no staff on site.
- Closings and getting keys - Your lawyer will undertake special steps to make sure that you can sign your closing documents electronically and have keys delivered to you or left in a lockbox at the property for pickup on closing day.
- Agreements of Purchase and Sale - The Ottawa Real Estate Board recommends that buyers use certain wording in purchase agreements to protect themselves from unexpected things that can arise during the state of emergency. We're up to date on the latest contract nuances and will make sure that you're protected in your purchase and understand what you're signing.
If you have any questions about buying or selling your home, give me a call today!