I am sure you have heard that the market has been crazy. You have probably heard that homes are selling over list price in multiple offers and wondered, how are people buying and selling during all of this? Things have certainly changed for Buyers and Sellers and it is important to know how. Moving can be one of the most stressful events in a lifetime, but we are here to answer your questions, and help every step of the way to make the process seamless.
Buying Real Estate has changed significantly now that we are inside of a Pandemic. Some of the changes you will notice have been very positive ones and have helped to keep people safe during this unprecedented time.
No more in-person open Houses. Our local Real Estate Board, along with many others have changed their rules a few times depending on the shift in the lockdown. But as I am writing this, there are no in-person open houses permitted. Understandably, this is putting people at a much higher risk of transmitting Covid-19 and making sellers very uneasy. Our team has implemented virtual open houses in order to maintain the exposure and we have found that it has actually improved the process for Buyers as well as exponentially increased exposure for Sellers. I believe this has been a very positive thing to come out of 2020 and we are excited about the opportunities it creates for Buyers and Sellers.
Showing restrictions. Requirements have evolved and Buyers are now required to wear masks, not touch any surfaces and spend minimal time in the home. Additionally, we have seen some Sellers request to see a pre-approval from Buyers before accessing the home, and Buyer Agents will need to check all specific restrictions depending on the home. The new restrictions coupled with a lack of homes available has resulted in an increase in virtual showings and Buyers making offers sight-unseen. All of these changes should be discussed with your Realtor and how it may impact the process for you both as a Buyer or as a Seller.
Virtual Signing, Home Inspections and Closing Appointments. Our team is, and has been for a while now, set-up to do everything virtually in the Buying and Selling process. We discuss this in detail during our Buyer and Seller consultations but as you can expect, there have been a lot of questions arise about how a home inspection completed. What about getting the keys on closing day from the Lawyer’s office? Home inspectors have their own requirements and comfort level during a pandemic so things will probably vary from company to company. We have found that most home inspectors will meet you at the property for a short period, outside to discuss the findings after they complete the inspection. They will take all necessary precautions in the Seller’s home and will send a report to the Buyer with their findings. In our experience, Lawyers are also handling all things virtually now so keys for closing are left on the property and access is given after the home closes. The signing of the paperwork is done either all virtually or in-person with proper precautions.
In addition to the changes above, we have seen steady increases in values throughout the Ottawa region and more demand on rural and waterfront homes. I think this is because a lot of people are deciding to work from home, desiring more space, and because the commute is less of a concern with the work-from-home options. People have also been having a harder look at how their space is working for them and making the necessary changes to improve their home life.
The last year has certainly thrown some curveballs in our industry but we are fortunate that for now, we are still considered essential and are able to continue to serve our clients at the highest level.
How have things changed at home for you? Feel free to drop us a line or comment and let us know! Or, if you are planning to move your space this year, we would love to connect.