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Stage 3 of Reopening: What to Expect When Selling or Buying a Home

August 11, 2020

As many provinces start Stage 3 of reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be wondering how this phase will affect selling or buying a home.

At the start of the pandemic, like many other industries, real estate had to adapt quickly to accommodate the new reality and allow sellers and buyers to complete real estate transactions safely. While predictions continue to be made about how these modifications might affect markets across Canada, we’re happy to report that as of June, there have been vast improvements in new listing and sales activity compared to the drastic decline at the beginning of the pandemic. Average home prices have held steady throughout and many markets saw a return to month-over-month and year-over-year price increases in June. These numbers indicate that those who intended to sell or buy their home in 2020 have not been deterred by the pandemic for the most part.  

Here’s some of what you can expect when selling or buying a home during Stage 3 of reopening. Please note, each province has specific restrictions in place, it is important to review and follow the health measures currently relevant in your province. 

Lifting the Ban on Open Houses

The major change in Stage 3 is open houses resuming in many provinces, with precautionary measures in place. As homeowners consider reopening their homes to visitors and homebuyers consider attending open houses, some of the changes that can be expected include but are not limited to:  

  • The standard: The “new normal” like masks, hand sanitizer and keeping your distance will apply at open houses as well. You will likely see printed protocols and expectations for each open house.
  • Screening: You can expect to answer screening questions about your health and travel history upon arrival. You can also expect to be asked to sign a visitor log for contact tracing, and you may be asked to sign a waiver.
  • Controlled environment: The host of the open house will likely be the only one to open the front door for visitors, with gloves, to limit physical contact.
  • All lights on and doors open: Further measures to encourage a “hands-off” open house, include the homeowner leaving all lights on and doors open so that visitors can tour the home touch-free.
  • Limited visitors: You can expect to see limits like one family at a time allowed inside of the home or a maximum of 15 people at a time, depending on your province.

What Continues in Stage 3

Although open houses may be permitted in Stage 3, it is safe to say not everyone will feel comfortable attending them right away. You can expect the process of selling or buying your home to remain largely unchanged in Stage 3 compared to Stage 2.

  • Virtual showings: At the start of the pandemic, virtual showings became the norm for people who needed to sell or buy a home. Virtual showings will continue to play a key role for those who are not yet comfortable attending or hosting an in-person showing or open house. At Purplebricks, we adapted quickly to make our process completely virtual when the pandemic began; now that restrictions have loosened, we’re equipped to help sellers and buyers whatever their comfort levels may be in terms of in-person interactions.
  • In-person showings: Many sellers and buyers felt more comfortable hosting and attending in-person showings during Stage 2, so in-person showings will continue to be an option and might prove to be preferred over open houses by both sellers and buyers in Stage 3.
  • Documents: While electronic signatures were largely accepted pre-pandemic in many provinces, those provinces who hadn’t adapted electronic signatures made exceptions during the pandemic. These exceptions will continue
    in Stage 3.

The Long Term

Reaching Stage 3 is great news for many provinces but, realistically, health measures will likely be in place for a while longer, at least until a vaccine is widely available. Even when there is access to a vaccine, we can expect this experience to make a lasting change on most industries, including real estate. Our Broker of Record, Randall Weese, makes some educated predictions on what selling your home will look like in a post-pandemic world and, amongst other changes, he predicts this pandemic will accelerate the technological changes that were already happening in the industry.

It’s more important than ever to have a REALTOR® on your side to guide you through the market. If you’re ready to sell or buy a home, a Purplebricks REALTOR® can help you do so safely.

Purplebricks is here to support Canadians by providing them with a full-service real estate while saving them thousands in commission when selling their home. As for homebuyers, we share the commission by giving buyers $2,000 in cash back* when they buy a home with us. Call 1-855-999-9740 for more information.