Open houses are banned. That includes vacant cottages for sale: Ask Joe

Open houses are banned. That includes vacant cottages for sale: Ask Joe

I’m planning to list my cottage for sale. Since it is currently vacant, can my real estate person host open houses during the state of emergency in Ontario?

During these days of physical distancing and contact-free curbside transactions, the prospect of owning a cottage may whet peoples’ appetites for recreational real estate.

As I write this, open houses are not permitted in Ontario. Under the current provincial state of emergency, the government has banned brokerages and salespeople from hosting open houses. The ban — to protect people from virus transmission — applies to open houses for all property types: primary, vacation, recreational and vacant or occupied dwellings within cities and rural areas, including cottage country.

Until the ban is lifted, real estate salespeople are limited to providing private showings for only the most serious of potential buyers.

Recognizing that non-local residents visiting cottage communities has created some controversy, I strongly suggest discussing how the property will be marketed, and the precautions that will be put in place to protect your family and visitors, with the salesperson or broker you may be considering. Services and strategies differ, so you will want to get a good understanding of the what is available to promote the sale of your property before signing a seller representation or listing agreement.

You are embarking on a very different real estate journey than you would have experienced before the pandemic. Fortunately, many brokerages and real estate professionals throughout Ontario have implemented the changes needed to continue to safely trade real estate during these unique times. You can expect your salesperson to work with you to address such things as physical distancing, vulnerability screenings, protocols for physical access to the property and safety and sanitation measures. Many brokerages have also ramped-up their technological capabilities and digital media tools to offer video conferencing, virtual home tours and video walk-throughs.

For readers thinking about purchasing a recreation property, keep in mind:

  • It is always a good idea to first speak with your financial lender and real estate salesperson regarding your needs prior to considering a purchase.
  • With showings currently reserved for only the most serious of buyers, you may be asked to confirm the seriousness of your interest to purchase prior to scheduling a showing.
  • You may be requested to complete COVID-19 and vulnerability screening. Tthis typically involves a questionnaire regarding such things as recent travel and potential exposure, and may involve a voluntary temperature check.
  • Remember to limit your interactions within communities when visiting these properties. Before buckling up, you should fill up your gas tank and pack lunch and snacks for the road to help reduce the pressure on resources for local residents.

If you have a question about the home buying or selling process, please email information@reco.on.ca.

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Joe Richer is registrar of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) and contributor for the Star. Follow him on Twitter: @RECOhelps

TORONTO STAR

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