Information for Real Estate Consumers on COVID-19 - Real Estate Sales

Mature woman sitting at a table texting on her cellphone with her laptop open in front of her.
  • What should I do if I'm thinking about having an open house?

    As per the joint statement released on November 5, 2020, RECBC along with the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) strongly urges real estate professionals to stop hosting open houses.

    RECBC’s Information on COVID-19 Safety for Sellers and Landlords gives alternatives and safety tips, as well as information on potential risks when considering marketing a property.

    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 how to proceed.

  • What should I do if I am considering attending an open house?

    As per the joint statement released on November 5, 2020, RECBC along with the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA) strongly urges real estate professionals to stop hosting open houses.

    RECBC’s Information on COVID-19 Safety for Buyers and Renters outlines alternative options and the precautions to take when looking to purchase or rent a home.

  • My home is listed for sale, but I’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and now I need to self-isolate. What should I do?

    If your home is currently listed with a real estate professional, you have entered into a contract that outlines the details of what you and your real estate professional agree to do to facilitate the sale of your home. This includes provisions for showings.

    If you are self-isolating you should not be permitting people to come into your home. Speak to your real estate professional about different options. This may include cancelling showings until your isolation period is over or amending the term of your listing agreement. If you are unable to come to a satisfactory resolution with your real estate professional, you may wish to contact their managing broker. Your contract is with the brokerage and the managing broker will have the authority to assist you.

    As a last resort, you may want to seek legal advice about your contractual obligations, and check with your local real estate board if you have signed an MLS ® listing contract. The real estate boards may have specific requirements about making your property available to show.

    Ultimately, in these unique circumstances, the hope is that common sense will prevail, and all parties will be able to arrive at a solution that satisfies everyone’s interests and assists in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

  • I am a buyer who wants to view a property, but the owner won’t allow showings.

    The government has encouraged everyone to take part in social distancing to “flatten the curve” and slow the spread of the disease. If it is not essential that you view the property immediately, you may want to wait until the owner is willing to provide access.

    If you need to view a property currently for sale and the owner will not permit you to view it in person, speak to your real estate professional about alternate solutions. Video tours, photos or other options may be available to you. Should none of those options be acceptable, you may have to wait or eliminate that property from your list.

  • I want to a view a property, but my real estate professional does not want to enter the home because of the risk of being exposed to COVID-19

    The government has encouraged everyone to take part in social distancing to “flatten the curve”. If it is not essential that you view the property immediately, you should wait.

    If it is essential that you view the property now, you may wish to discuss with your real estate professional how you can view the property on your own and any risks that could arise from that.

    If you have entered into a commission agreement with your real estate professional, you may be responsible for commissions that may be owed to them if they are not present for the showing. If you have entered into such an agreement you should seek legal advice as to your options.

    Another option could be to ask your real estate professional to refer you to someone who is willing show you the property. The ideal option is to wait in order to ensure that you limit the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

  • I am looking to purchase a home. How can I protect my family from risks of exposure to COVID-19 as a result of viewing properties?

    The government has encouraged everybody to stay home unless absolutely necessary in order to “flatten the curve”. By showing your home during this time you may be putting yourself and others at risk. Ask yourself whether it is absolutely necessary.

    Key information sources for up-to-date information about COVID-19 and how to protect yourself are available here:

  • Does a seller have to disclose if they have COVID-19?

    If you are concerned that a seller may have COVID-19, ask the listing agent. Real estate professionals have an obligation to act honestly and on the lawful instruction of their client. If a real estate professional is aware that their client has been exposed to and/or tests positive for COVID-19, they must discuss with their client whether they are permitted to disclose that to you.

    Given the real estate professional’s obligation to act honestly, they would either need to answer the question (with the permission of their client) or refuse to answer the question. They cannot provide an untruthful answer to an inquiring party.
  • What if I want to terminate a listing agreement or buyer agency agreement?

    If you want to terminate a listing agreement or buyer agency agreement with your real estate professional you should discuss your concerns with them, and/or their managing broker. As these are binding contracts both parties would need to agree to amend or cancel them. You may wish to also seek legal advice regarding your contract.

  • Who must sanitize a property after closing?

    The responsibility of the condition of a property upon closing is negotiated by the seller and buyer in the contract of purchase and sale. If you are unsure of the obligations of the parties regarding the sanitization of a property you may want to speak with your real estate professional and/or seek legal advice.