With open houses, realtors are advised to go digital

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The doors have been closed on open houses, with the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA) prohibiting its members from hosting such events to protect public safety.

AREA represents the interests of more than 10,500 realtors and 10 local real estate boards/associations in the province.

“Realtors have social responsibilities to their clients and the greater community,” says AREA Chair Kristie Kruger. “This unprecedented health pandemic has forced all Albertans to make significant changes. Because open houses are public, with unpredictable attendance, it is difficult to ensure they comply with Alberta Health recommendations.”

AREA encourages its members and their clients to use the digital technology available, such as virtual tours, video-conferencing and digital contract signatures, to practice safe social distancing. The ban on open houses will end when public health advisories are lifted.

The virus was affecting sales prior to the ban being announced, says Jesse Davies, founder, realtor with the Jesse Davies Team, Century 21 Elevate Real Estate.

“Things have been pretty hectic. I had four conditional sales last Monday and they all fell through,” says Davies. “I am advising my clients to remove listings as showings have dropped off a lot with good reason. Let’s hope this blows over quickly if we all work together with social distancing.”

AREA urges realtors, buyers and sellers to use caution in showing or viewing houses and recommends precautions be taken to reduce risk.

Davies is already taking advantage of digital tools.

“I am doing 3D virtual tours offered by Urban Measure to help in the meantime with buyers being able to view homes from their living rooms,” he says. “An example of one we just shot in Eau Claire is at https://www.urbanmeasure.com/904-690-princetonwaysw/”

For the latest industry tips for working during the COVID-19 pandemic, go to www.albertarealtor.ca