As open houses are slowly being allowed to resume in the GTA, the Toronto real estate board has created a guideline for realtors, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
On Tuesday, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) issued an Open House Guidance document to its 56,000 realtor members to rethink their in-person open house practices to “protect themselves, consumers and their communities.”
The Ontario Government lifted the prohibition on in-person real estate open houses in York, Halton and Durham Regions effective Friday, July 24, as they enter Stage 3 of the provincial reopening.
The board says, Peel Region and the City of Toronto are expected to follow suit by the end of the month.
“TRREB is still recommending that its Members continue using alternative marketing strategies for sellers, such as virtual open house tours conduct in-person open houses as a last resort. If directed by a seller to conduct an in-person open house during Stage 3, Members should comply with all required government and public health and safety measures to ensure safe showings,” Lisa Patel, TRREB President, said in a statement.
However, TRREB says that open houses should only be used as a last resort and virtual open houses should still be used most of the time.
If it becomes necessary to host open houses, the board recommends the following measures:
- Consider clients’ best interests — it’s important to discuss all the different risk factors and precautions with clients.
- Understand the safety protocols to follow.
- Leverage technology to reduce in-person interactions.
- Use your professional judgement on public health safety guidelines and protocols.
- Anticipate and respond to community concerns.
- Limit open house attendance and manage consumer expectations. “Wherever possible, encourage pre-registration and/or a schedule for attending an open house.”
- Plan in advance regarding personal protective equipment, cleaning protocols, signage and managing physical distancing outside and inside the home.
- Keep safety in mind during the open house, and limit the number of people to one family group in the property at a time.
- Consider the requirements of multi-tenanted properties.
- Safely conclude the open house.
And, for consumers attending in-person open houses, they should expect: signing in; wearing a mask; follow direction and keep distance; to not touch anything; washing hands; and a pre-screen at home.