In-person open houses are finally coming back this week as part of Step 3 of the Ontario reopening plan.
Open houses have been gone from the real estate world for more than a year after being suspended last summer due to COVID-19 concerns. But new Step 3 indoor gathering limits — which go into effect at 12:01 am on Friday, July 16 — allow up to 25 people indoors.
Cyrus Ghazvini, a real estate agent with Strata.ca, expects that aspiring homebuyers will be ready to get back to in-person home viewings after having to largely rely on virtual ones for quite some time.
“Just like other facets of life, there may be a desire to just go out and do things the way we did in the past,” Ghazvini told Daily Hive. “Not only will open houses relieve some of that ‘Zoom fatigue’ […] but I think they’ll regain traction and be just as popular as pre-pandemic times.”
However, fellow agent Galina Sheveleva says that there may still be some hesitancy among buyers to gather in person as the province is still coming out of this wave of the pandemic.
“For the first little while, some buyers will likely be reluctant to visit open houses since these events tend to attract a lot of ‘window shoppers’ and curious neighbours,” Sheveleva said. “Serious buyers often prefer to visit properties on their own time to get a good sense of the space and not feel rushed or crowded.”
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The province will remain in Step 3 for at least 21 days and cannot advance until 80% of Ontarians over 12 have received a first dose of the vaccine, and 75% have received a second.
Masks or facial coverings and physical distancing are still required in indoor public settings during Step 3.