Real estate agents use virtual tours to show homes amid COVID-19 pandemic
TORONTO -- While real estate support has been declared an essential service in Ontario during the COVID-19 pandemic, some agents are making sure to keep their physical distance by offering virtual tours of homes.
Buying a home is one of the largest purchases most people will ever make and so it is difficult to find the perfect house without seeing it in person first hand.
Michael Collins, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, told CTV News Toronto there are people who sold their homes before COVID-19 hit and are still in search of a new home.
“So it’s still important to try and keep these transactions moving forward,” Collins said, adding that changes have been put in place to help people continue to buy and sell properties at this time.
“Obviously the health and safety of our realtors, our clients and the public is the biggest priority we have right now,” Collins said.
Real estate has been declared an essential service, but open houses are canceled. Agents have been advised to avoid in-person business with clients and to try and rely on virtual showings.
Muniba Mian, a real estate agent with Century 21, said that while some customers are fine with virtual tours, others say they must see the home in person before making a decision.
“It's not a small purchase. It's a big purchase so virtual tours are not the best option right now,” Mian told CTV News Toronto.
If someone does want to have a showing at a property it can be done, but all guidelines related to COVID-19 must be adhered too.
“There must be social distancing, wearing gloves, and wearing masks all the rules have to be followed,” Mian said.
While some buyers and sellers have to complete a real estate transaction now because of their situation, many others will wait. The industry experts say there will be a slowdown as buyers and sellers deal with the pandemic.
“You've got the added worry of COVID-19. Buying and selling can be stressful and if you put that on top of a real estate transaction than there is extra pressure for sure," Collins said.