COVID 19 UPDATE
REAL ESTATE TODAY
An Essential Service
2020 has proven to be a year of unprecedented challenges and perhaps a new way of life. With social distancing restrictions in place, Realtors have adapted in order to ensure the safe facilitation of real estate transactions for those in need.
By NO means is it business as usual. Real estate has been declared an essential service, however transactions should only be conducted where it is absolutely necessary for a buyer, seller or tenant. Many have been caught between transactions, having already purchased a home and now needing to sell their current home in order to fulfill that obligation. Similarly, others already sold and need to find a place to relocate to before closing. Renter’s situations aren’t much different, having already given prior notice to vacate. We all need somewhere to call home and it is a Realtor’s job to help make the process as smooth as possible.
On April 4th open houses were expressly prohibited. While acting in the best interests of their clients, real estate agents and their brokerages have a duty to follow the direction of health officials to minimize direct physical interaction. Technology has played a major role in making it possible for Realtors to provide quality service to those in need in a safe and responsible way. Here are some effective tools we are utilizing:
Virtual tours, 360 degree and 3D walk-throughs, mobile measurement applications and digital floorplans help to reduce the number of and in some cases eliminate in person showings. At the very least only extremely interested buyers who are likely to make an offer will make the next step to book a viewing.
This technology has been around for quite some time and is pretty much the status quo. Authentisign and DocuSign are the most commonly used. It is extremely handy in enabling efficient signing of documents in a market where time is of the essence. It also helps keep the paperwork legible regardless of how many sign backs take place. Things can get really messy with pen and paper. Let’s not forget the impact that going paperless has on the environment. The last few stragglers who have not embraced electronic signing will be singing it praises once this is all over.
Say goodbye to the struggle of rushing to the bank to get your deposit (certified cheque or bank draft) and then high tailing it to the sellers brokerage. Now all you need is to provide the information to your bank and voila! The funds will be there. Save time, save gas, save paper. Oh, and let’s not forget you’ll save yourself an Advil because you won’t have that headache.
Communication is essential in any transaction. With direct face-to-face meetings largely off the table due to social distancing, video conferencing, phone calls, emails and texts offer alternate means of having important discussions and dealing with negotiations. This will ensure that all your questions and concerns are answered so you will be comfortable and confident moving forward with your decisions.
In the event that an in person showing is requested, an indemnification form must be signed. This declares that all parties have no current symptoms, have not travelled and waive any legal liability. Emergency order laws and health guidelines must be followed.
Gloves and masks should be worn and contact surfaces should be cleaned before and between showings.
Our city, our province and our country face many challenges when it comes to housing. With the Coronavirus and the resulting Covid 19 illness having brought the world to a near halt this has never been more true. The federal, provincial and municipal governments are doing everything they can to ensure that Canadians stay safe and get through this trying time.
Property Tax Deferrals
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board has compiled a COVID-19 property tax deferral schedule for every Greater Toronto Area municipality. It includes links to their respective websites for more details and links to the various municipal COVID-19 information centres. I understand how difficult this information can be to find. If you’d like a copy (Word Format) please email me via the contact form on this website and I will send it to you right away.
2020 MPAC Assessments Postponed
Every 4 years MPAC reassess the value of all homes across the province, which in turn dictates the values of the property taxes homeowners have to pay each year. Due to the economic downturn and financial challenges faced by many, the Finance Minister announced the decision to postpone the 2020 assessment. Property taxes for 2021 will continue to be paid based on the last assessment of values completed in 2016. This is welcome news for Torontonians expecting a large tax increase as a result of significant growth in property values over the last few years.
If you have any other questions about COVID-19 and the real estate market contact me at any time.
If you have a need to buy or sell property or find yourself in a unique situation let’s talk and I will help you find a solution that will achieve an optimal outcome.