While the provincial government has included “Land registration services, and real estate agent services and moving services” among the list of essential businesses that can continue to operate during the current provincial state of emergency, RAHB emphasizes that this does not mean it is business as usual. We can’t state strongly enough that If the measures advised by health government and officials, such as social distancing and self-isolation, are to be effective, compliance by everyone is essential. Full stop.
That being said, RAHB recognizes that the typical way of conducting business and the rules around how business is conducted are not 100 percent suited to a virtual world.
With this in mind, during the Ontario COVID-19 state of emergency, RAHB is temporarily relaxing MLS® Rule & Regulation: SECTION 2 – MLS® LISTINGS 2.10 (i).
What does this mean in practice?
- A listing will not be suspended because a property is not available for in-person showings or inspections.
- As in-person showings are temporarily prohibited, virtual showings are permitted instead.
- By complying with direction from public health agencies at the national and provincial levels, RAHB members are individually and collectively helping to slow the spread of COVID-19, thereby protecting themselves, their families and their communities.
What else do I need to know?
- Let other REALTORS® know about your virtual showings by including this information within the REALTOR® or public (Client) remarks section of a listing.
- Remember that REALTOR® contact information is not permitted within the REALTOR® or public (Client) remarks section of a listing – as per RAHB’s MLS® Policies Miscellaneous #5 and #6.
- There are a variety of online and virtual tools that can easily be accessed to conduct business remotely with REALTORS®, buyers and sellers.
What are some tips and best practices for hosting a virtual open house?
- Stick to a schedule – start planning now for your current listings and future virtual tours. FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Zoom are great options. If you want your open house to be viewed by the public, social media offers “Live” features that are a great way to reach a wide audience (i.e., Facebook Live or Instagram Live).
Practice – trial runs are crucial to make sure both your technology is working and your virtual open house layout is perfect. Walk and pan around the room slowly to reduce pixilation on your video.
There is no such thing as being too descriptive – be sure to use as many descriptive words as possible to help a home buyer envision themselves living in the space.
If you have any questions, please contact the MLS® Help Desk at 905.667.4650 or firstname.lastname@example.org.