Is Home Buying Selling During COVID 19 Possible?

COVID-19 has been wreaking havoc around the world in unprecedented ways. This is indeed a trying and stressful time for all of us in Canada, and around the world. COVID-19 updates are changing on a daily basis with government recommendations at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels.

Nothing is more important right now than the health and safety of people!

Is Home Buying & Selling Still Happening?

The real estate industry has been declared an essential service but it is NOT business as usual. This was done primarily to ensure homeowners with pending closings, those who have already bought and need to sell, or those who have sold and have to buy, are able to transact.

So there are still Home Sellers who need to Sell, and Home Buyers who need to Buy their home or condo in Mississauga & area. And now while the government registration system and lawyers have been deemed an essential service by the Province of Ontario, there is a shift in how Buying or Selling activity might take place in the current situation.

The Ontario Government declared real estate an essential service, in order to permit transactions to close. This does not mean business as usual. Realtors have to suspend open houses, agent and public office hours and in-person showings, particularity of tenant-occupied homes, during the state of emergency. Technology like virtual tours, video conference calls and digital signing should be used in situations where a client must buy or sell a property during this time.

Home Buying Selling During COVID 19 – Some Transactional FAQs 

Are Real Estate Offices Open?

Our RE/MAX office is NOT OPEN to public and not is conducting any client meetings.

It is NOT business as usual. Realtors can communicate with clients through video conferencing, virtual tours etc. We all have to pay attention to recommendations for best practices by the various levels of government with respect to the COVID-19 developments, including social distancing (at least six feet from any other person) and avoiding in-person meetings.

Are Realtors doing Showings, Meeting Clients, Conducting Open Houses?

No! Until further instructions, we are not conducting any activity that involves meeting people.

What about showings involving tenants? 

No Realtors should participate in a face-to-face showings, especially of a tenanted property. Legally the Residential Tenancies Act may permit showings, but for health and safety reasons, these should not happen. We can work with landlords to show these properties virtually.

Has the Government Registration System closed down?

The online registration system has not closed down. The government registration system and lawyers have been deemed an essential service by the Province of Ontario. However, law firms must be able to complete every part of a transaction remotely.

Can Buyers or Sellers cancel their Purchase & Sale Agreement?

No, you cannot cancel the Purchase & Sale Agreement due to the pandemic like COVID-19. The only way a deal cannot close is if the government registration system closes down or lenders cannot fund loans, which is not the case right now.

What if there is a legitimate delay due to illness?

Buyers, Sellers and their Realtors would have to work together with their lawyers to try and resolve any issue. Deals may be extended, on terms that are considered fair to everyone.

Can a Buyer cancel a Builder New Home or Condo Contract?

As long as you are within the 10-days cooling period, you can definitely rescind the contract. However, after the 10-day cooling off period, you cannot cancel the contract.

Are we able to delay Builder Payments?

Builder payments made to the Builders lawyer trust account. Most builders will not allow that. It is recommended that you ask your lawyer to request the builder’s lawyer to give you an extension for payments. Good builders will definitely look into the situation and extend the payments by a few days. Please note that there may be charges for any changes to the dates of payments. However, this charge may be waived due to the pandemic situation we are in. It all depends on the builder.

Can we get a Deferral on Mortgage Payments?

Many banks are offering mortgage deferral payments. But they come at a cost. Mortgagors caveat emptor- call your bank and find out the cost and implications first.

How are we ensuring safety & well-being of our team and clients?

  • Team Kalia has been following “social distancing” and limiting contact with the general public and are using alternative means of communication wherever possible such as texts, phone calls, and emails
  • Our RE/MAX offices have been working on reduced working hours and is seeking alternative technologies to connect with clients and host offer presentations. RE/MAX offices have also been adhering to the strictest guidelines & protocols around keeping staff and clients safe

Should You Consider Buying & Selling Homes During Tough Times?

Real estate thrives on three major factors:  financial security, low interest rates and demand & supply.

Financial Security: As long as there is a strong job market and thriving economy, real estate will keep doing well.

Housing Supply: GTA has an acute supply issue and this has helped our markets to stay strong since 2000. Small recessions, government interventions to cool the housing market from time to time, could only curb the prices temporarily for six months to a max of two years. Latest effects of the stress test brought in Jan 2018 by the Bank of Canada to cool the housing market, also had faded by Dec 2019. This is primarily because of the supply issues that goes back to Places to Grow Act 2005, which I have mentioned in my blogs, time and again. GTA has been drawing large number of highly skilled and well paid immigrants since last few years and this has created a huge demand for housing.

Interest Rates: As long as prospective home buyers can borrow at low interest rates housing demand can remain high. With low mortgage rates, home buyers have the flexibility to borrow more and aim for a higher home price.

Real estate markets always goes up in the long run. Recession is just one of the blips in the economic cycle.

Toronto house prices chart Jan 2020

First time home buyers and other investors who see real estate markets as a long term investment, renters who don’t want to end up retiring by making their landlords wealthy, will certainly buy in tough times, as long as they are employed, earn good income and continue to maintain a good credit score.

What Prospective Buyers & Sellers Can Do Now

This can be a good time to do your research as buyers or sellers.

For example, we are conducting personal First Time Home Buyers and Builder New Condo Buying sessions over the phone. Floor plans, detailed descriptions, panoramic pictures, and video tours allow the buyer to get a good feel for a resale or a new home or a condo, before visiting the property or builder’s office, when they eventually open for regular business.

This doesn’t mean that people are buying real estate online (with the exception of may be builder sales), but buyers are getting educated with the ins and outs of the buying process. They are watching how things will unfold in the next few weeks, before physically coming out to see homes and condos with us.

Similarly, we are conducting personal sessions over the phone for Home Sellers where we walk them through their Home Evaluation, Comparable Market Analysis and our customized commission plans. Based on the right timing to sell, we discuss and coordinate next steps such as home staging, and professional photography, with special emphasis on 360 virtual tours.

Find Out More About Our Home Selling Services!

Not ready to Buy or Sell, but just curious about the real estate market?

You can view latest listings on our website, find out what your home is worth or receive detailed home evaluation via email or over the phone. Check our blog frequently for real estate and we are just a phone call away to answer your questions and serve your real estate needs.

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