The Saskatchewan Realtors Association (SRA) is allowing members to conduct open houses under new health and safety measures.

For open houses, these include health disclosure surveys and contact information records to aid in contract tracing, should someone test positive after attending an open house. Only two people (plus the attending Realtor) will be allowed into a house at a time and they are expected to sanitize upon entering, not touch anything, wear shoes and/or disposable booties on their feet and maintain social distance. Other attendees will be asked to wait outside either in a socially distant queue or in their cars.

It’s a different story in Ontario, where new guidelines from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) urge members to “continue to use virtual tools, conduct virtual open houses and virtual showings to the greatest extent possible”; to use phone, email or video for client communications; and to process documents, forms and acknowledgments electronically.

“If it is necessary to enter a home, listing agents and their clients should limit the amount of time they spend in the home. Conversations with buying agents and prospective buyers should take place outside, and in between back-to-back showings the listing agent should disinfect high-touch surfaces.”

The guidelines recommend that all the interior doors (including closets) should be left open by the homeowner or listing agent, and all lights should be turned on before a showing, since doorknobs and light switches are two of the most commonly touched surfaces in a home. Windows could be opened to improve ventilation. Agents should not use the bathrooms in the home, say the guidelines.

In Saskatchewan, SRA says it has lobbied the provincial government to amend legislation to allow provincially regulated not-for-profits to conduct AGMs and virtual votes, like their federal counterparts can. Last week the government announced those changes, as well as amendments to allow all mandatory industry forms to be signed electronically, says SRA. All other industry forms are also able to be witnessed electronically as well.

“The economic impact to the market was better than we expected but still pretty tough on many of our members,” says Jason Yochim, SRA CEO. “I am quite confident the markets will improve – there is a lot of pent-up demand out there for both buyers and sellers who held off while the pandemic was in full swing.”


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