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Viewing Properties with COVID-19 Protocols

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Over the last two years, we’ve seen so many parts of everyday life upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, and we can expect that to continue as we start this new year. In BC, there are still a number of restrictions and regulations that need to be adhered to, and there is guidance specifically for REALTORS®. We would like to assure you that we are following all regulations and safety advice, and in this blog we take a look at the measures that are currently in place

Accurate at time of publishing in January 2022

Hygiene and Cleaning

In order to keep everyone who comes through our properties safe, there are hygiene protocols in place. These include frequent handwashing, meaning washing hands before and after meeting with clients or any viewings. 

We also encourage everyone to practice safe respiratory etiquette by covering their mouth and nose with the crease of an elbow or with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing.

When it comes to physical objects, it is recommended to avoid the sharing of pens, pencils, and any other stationery. Plus we need to ensure that the handling of property keys is coordinated so that physical contact is not required.

If showing an occupied property, we ask sellers or occupants to prepare for viewings by turning on all the lights and opening the doors to prevent touching of surfaces by potential buyers.

We also make sure that any viewings are scheduled at appropriate intervals to allow for sufficient time to ventilate the property between viewings.

In-Person Viewings

Now that in person viewings are allowed by the current guidance, we have to remain diligent when it comes to ensuring that these can be conducted safely and securely. This means ensuring that all the hygiene rules previously outlined are adhered to, as well as avoiding physical contact such as handshakes. Plus we need to ask visitors to wash their hands before entering, and have hand sanitizer available throughout. We will also be asking viewing attendees should avoid using the property’s washrooms.

Viewings will be arranged by appointment only, as while open houses are allowed under current guidance, observing the proper physical distancing requirement can make things tricky during that kind of set up. Therefore we try and reduce the number of people on the property at any given time, something that is easier to manage through scheduled appointments.

To help with the physical distancing requirement, if the use of an elevator is required, we will stagger the appointment times. Plus it is important to remember to stand back while waiting for the elevator doors to open to allow anyone to leave before entering, and enter elevators one by one to avoid crowding.

A new requirement is (with the permission of clients and where applicable) is to document the names and contact information of all people attending a property viewing in accordance with all privacy policies.

We note that while still permissible in BC, the conducting of in-person viewings does represent a higher threat of transmission than viewings conducted virtually. 

Ventilation

Layers of protection are a key public health strategy when it comes to managing COVID-19. In addition to public health measures, such as physical distancing and masks, ventilation with fresh air also plays an important role in reducing the transmission indoors.

Outbreaks have been linked to poor ventilation where the virus may have been transmitted via aerosols from infected individuals that became concentrated in the air over time when individuals were sharing the same room. Indoor accumulation is greater when more people share a space, spend more time together, exercise, sing, or shout in close contact.  

Fresh outside air

Ventilating a room or indoor space replaces the indoor air with outdoor air. This will dilute and replace any air contaminated with the virus or other air pollutants.

Ventilation, whether through opening windows or the use air conditioning (HVAC) systems, can increase the amount of outside air brought inside. This will dilute the number of viral particles in the air and help to reduce the risk of exposure

It is important to know that adjusting ventilation is not likely to reduce transmission between individuals in close proximity. Individuals who are physically near a person who is infected remain at risk from both droplet and aerosol transmission. This is due to their close proximity to the infectious source.

For this reason, it is important to maintain physical distance from people and wear a well-constructed mask.

While the mask mandate is in force, BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) strongly recommends that all individuals taking part in a showing – including REALTORS®, prospective buyers, and occupants – wear masks while in the property and in all common areas of multi-tenanted properties.

Communication

Our commitment to our clients is to clearly and effectively communicate everything that is expected of us and you. We do not want you to feel uncomfortable with the regulations that need to be followed. If an in-person viewing is not possible for you, there is still plenty that can happen virtually.

We recently wrote a blog exactly on this topic about how many people are buying homes without ever physically stepping foot in them. With technology we are capable of replicating the experience almost exactly. In addition, virtual viewings offer an effective strategy for narrowing down the number of properties you want to look at it, reducing risk, and making your search easier. 

Technology also enables us to provide potential buyers with online access to a variety of property documents and related data, such as strata documents, market research, and community development documents, which can be a helpful factor when deciding on purchasing a property.  

Despite being what many may see as being a disadvantageous time to purchase a house, the current situation does pose some benefits for property buyers. Many sellers are looking to relocate to less densely populated areas, move away from hotspots, or move closer to family, thus bringing some very desirable properties onto the market. 


The property market in Victoria is still very active, so these regulations should not stop you on your property journey, and Madsen Langlois are here to guide you every step of the way. 

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