Real estate agents are still hosting open houses in Toronto despite calls not to
As officials continue to reiterate orders for residents to self-isolate as much as possible in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it seems members of one industry are still trying to continue on with business as usual.
Some real estate agents have massaged the phrase "stay at home" to extend to any old home — such as, say, a house they're currently trying to sell.
Though people are supposed to be keeping a few metres away from one another — and places like grocery stores are heeding this advice by limiting the number of customers allowed inside at one time — realtors in and around Toronto have still been holding open houses and showings.
One Reddit user posted a map showing 57 residential open houses taking place in a select portion of Toronto and the GTA this past weekend alone.
There are dozens of open houses this weekend in Toronto. Please don’t anybody go to them. from r/toronto
Both the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board and the Ontario Real Estate Association have "strongly recommended" that realtors "cease holding open houses during this crisis" and "advise their clients to cancel any that are planned" to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The professional associations encouraged the use of things like virtual tours and video calls in lieu.
TRREB strongly recommends open houses stop, suppressing on Stratus MLS®, https://t.co/w0fSw69aLf, Collaborate & https://t.co/SMAEKrKA5L, until safe to restore. Listings will not be suspended because property not available for showings. Details: https://t.co/eABmIhqy7O pic.twitter.com/uiLALTr1jK— Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (@TheReal_TRREB) March 21, 2020
But the Real Estate Council of Ontario, which actually creates regulations and holds authority over the industry, has not made any definitive rules for agents at this time.
"As a registered professional, you decide which services you are prepared to offer," a RECO statement on COVID-19 reads. "If you decide to offer services involving open houses and showings, it is your duty to support your clients in making an informed choice about hosting or attending open houses and showings."
Hopefully would-be homebuyers have the common sense to avoid these situations to help keep face-to-face interaction between, well, any of us to a bare minimum during these unprecedented times.
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