April 14, 2020

COVID-19 | How to Safely Buy or Sell a Home During The Pandemic

When the Government of Alberta began rolling out new safety practices to help flatten the curve of COVID-19, their new rules and regulations involved many businesses closing their doors. Anyone deemed a non-essential service had to close up shop until further notice to help keep everyone safe. Real Estate offices were on the list of those who were considered essential and were to remain open. While the majority of the world is at a stand-still, not everyone has the choice to wait on buying or selling a home. So many people have had to sell because of job loss, or to relocate to a place with a job opportunity. The same goes for buyers, the market isn’t great if you’re selling, but if you’re doing okay financially and have been waiting to buy, now is the time.

The Century 21 Poirier team has always worked to provide the best care and experience for our clients and we’ve made some adjustments during this time to ensure we can continue to do so. The health and safety of our sellers, buyers and own team members are our top priority and we want you to know what we are doing in our efforts to help flatten the curve. 

Looking For a New Home | Our Buyers

Even before COVID-19, the start of the buying process often began with an email or a phone call from clients looking to buy a home, so that made this part easy. Our team will send each new buyer as many details as we possibly can through email. Some of these things include copies of the highlight sheets (which show details on a home), we offer virtual showings, 360 degree photos etc. Our website is also fantastic for buyers. The user friendly layout allows you to filter your search based on exactly what you want right down to your price point and number of bedrooms. We have an online mortgage calculator, you can save your searches to view later and you can book a showing right on the site. Buying a home though is not something you can (or want to do) without ever stepping foot in the space. There are many things you just can’t get from a photo or virtual tour and a proper showing is preferred. If you’ve ever bought a house that felt like home the moment you walked in, then you know that feeling doesn’t come from seeing the home over email.

Whether it’s your first home or fourth home, the buying experience is exciting and we want to keep it that way. Before each showing, our buyers must complete a COVID-19 questionnaire to determine their health and they must get pre-approved for their mortgage prior to a showing. There are also many sellers who are not allowing showings, so we communicate that from the start with our buyers so there is no disappointment later on. Other sellers have requested that PPE be worn during showings, so our agents along with our buyers comply with that request. 

As soon as we can confirm the health of our buyers, their bank approval and the conditions of the showing with the seller, then we go ahead and begin booking showings.  

Showing a Home

Our showing procedure has only changed slightly but in such a way that we can keep everyone safe. During a showing with a Century 21 Poirier agent, all buyers are asked that they do not touch anything in the home. We understand that this can be tricky because you want to open doors and cabinets and get a good look around the home, but for now, your agent will do it for you. All our agents have on PPE during each showing and we will walk through the home with the buyers to open bedroom doors, closets, drawers and kitchen cabinets.

Each seller is being asked to leave hand sanitizer for us, but our agents are also carrying it along just in case. 

Preparing For a Showing | Our Sellers

If the seller is allowing us to show their home, then we have requested certain cleaning practises from each seller to ensure the safety of our buyers, our agents and of course, themselves. Each seller is asked to clean the home thoroughly with disinfectants before and after each showing. We have also requested that they leave out hand sanitizer to be used upon arrival. 

We have asked all the sellers to have the home prepared by leaving all the doors inside open (so we don’t need to touch knobs) and turning on all of the lights (so we don’t need to touch switches). Anything that a home seller can do to minimize contact during the showing is important. We also ask that no sellers are home during the showing to keep the number of people inside the house to the absolute minimum. 

Keeping Our Office Space Safe

In both our Bonnyville and Cold Lake locations, our offices are rather spread out and each agent has their own small office space. This has been extremely helpful in keeping us all safe while we are at work. We have put extra cleaning policies in place, have hand sanitizer throughout the office for everyone to use, are practicing extra hand-washing policies and we are only seeing clients in the office as a last resort and on a case-by-case basis. Our regular cleaners are also visiting the offices more frequently to keep everyone safe and healthy. 

All the paperwork involved in buying or selling a home can be done virtually with the help of email, our website and programs like Docusign, that allow all involved parties to sign papers on a tablet or phone. 
We completely understand the stress and hard times COVID-19 has brought upon everyone, but we don’t want buying or selling your home to add to your stress. Our whole team is constantly working to keep you and your family safe during the buying/selling process. If you have any questions about our policies in place or would like to buy or sell your home in the St. Paul or Bonnyville area, our team is standing by and ready to help you.

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