Vancouver BC, July 08, 2020 – The Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) has released recommendations to guide real estate professionals on the precautions and measures needed to safely resume open houses and in-person showings. Rethinking Open Houses, developed in collaboration with the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE), with participation from WorkSafeBC, provides a framework for viewing properties safely. RECBC cautions that it is not yet “business as usual” for BC’s real estate industry.
“With these recommendations, our first concern is ensuring that real estate professionals do everything they can to protect the health and safety of the public, and themselves. RECBC is committed to making sure that real estate services in BC are provided in a safe way, recognizing that the pandemic is not behind us,” said David Avren, RECBC’s Acting CEO. “This is not a return to normal.”
From the outset of BC’s public health emergency, RECBC has asked real estate professionals to cease hosting open houses in the interest of public health and safety, and to use virtual options to market and show properties. While today’s new guidance signals a cautious resumption of open houses, RECBC continues to advise that real estate professionals should limit face-to-face contact whenever possible and conduct showings only with serious buyers who have already viewed the home virtually.
To maintain physical distancing during in-person viewings, real estate professionals are advised to encourage pre-registration and/or schedule attendance to limit the number of individuals in a home at once. Other recommended measures include requiring the use of masks, sanitization procedures and signage, along with additional safety protocols for multi-tenanted properties.
“We’ve seen great innovation in real estate services over the past three months. Real estate professionals have successfully integrated capabilities like 3D modelling, virtual tours, and remote document execution into their regular practice, reducing the need for consumers to physically attend a property,” noted Avren. “Those practices need to continue, in the interest of public safety, along with the protocols we’re recommending today.”
Along with guidance for real estate professionals, RECBC has today released new advice for consumers, to help buyers and sellers who may be considering hosting or attending an open house or showing.
RECBC’s Information on Open Houses for Sellers and Landlords gives homeowners who are thinking about holding an open house information on risks to consider and precautions that they and their real estate professional can take. RECBC recommends that homeowners have a frank and open discussion with their real estate professional about the best way to market the property, and ensure that they have the information they need to make a well-informed decision about whether or not to hold an open house.
RECBC’s Information on Open Houses for Buyers and Renters outlines the protocols buyers may encounter when visiting an open house, and the precautions they may be asked to take. These could include waiting outside until it is safe to enter, wearing a mask, and not touching any surfaces within the home.
Members of the public or professionals who have questions or concerns about open houses, real estate services and transactions can contact RECBC’s Professional Standards Advisors for free, confidential information and resources. Get in touch by email at [email protected] or phone at 604.683.9664, toll-free 1.877.683.9664.
RECBC is a regulatory agency established by the provincial government. Its mandate is to protect the public by enforcing the licensing and licensee conduct requirements of the Real Estate Services Act.