I believe we all understand that in this fast-changing situation surrounding the coronavirus, special measures should be implemented to protect each other from this invisible threat. As facts emerge, I am certain that procedures will change, and something which works today may be outdated as coronavirus protection by tomorrow.
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Certainly I am not a medical professional, nor do I even play one on TV. But from information gathered thus far, experts believe:
- It is similar to the Flu
- However many times more contagious
- Many times more lethal
- It requires a liquid host (saliva, for example)
- Carriers might be without symptoms for 2 weeks
- During this time, they can still spread it
- Virus may live on surfaces for some (undetermined) amount of time
- Does not discriminate by age but….
- Affects aged and people with underlying issues at higher rate
The most common way in which people can become infected is to shake hands, kiss, share cups or utensils, spray spittle onto one another while talking or eating etc. Since the virus can live on surfaces (think ‘door-handles’) it could be transmitted from one person to another WITHOUT the two ever meeting.
For now, here is my plan to attempt to protect my Winnipeg Home Sellers and Home Buyers:
Coronavirus Protection – For my Home Buyer Clients
In order to attempt to protect all involved, I will be taking the the following steps prior to each home tour. (A home tour is the visual examination of a house or condo, listed for sale on the MLS. Such properties are listed by real estate agents and usually do NOT require the home seller to be present during the showing, which limits any personal interaction between all parties)
For new buyers, I used to schedule a free buyer-consultation in my office. This can now be done online, via zoom, from the comfort of your own home and at a time convenient to you. If you’re looking to buy a house or condo in Winnipeg, please fill out this form:
Home Tours via my vehicle
The vast majority of my home buying clients have access to their own vehicle, and have usually met me at the homes we are going to see. So that even before this coronavirus outbreak, shuttling my clients around in my car was a rare treat.
This practice will now cease completely, and is taken to protect both the client and myself.
Procedure before and after each tour
We will meet in front of the listed property, where each person, who will take part in the tour, will be supplied with a dose of hand sanitizer before entering the property. This action is designed to protect the home OWNER from any virus possibly carried by the buyer.
Buyers are reminded that they may want to limit opening cupboards and drawers if possible. Touch as few surfaces as possible, and after they DO touch anything, avoid touching your own face. (eyes, mouth and nose are primary entry points for the virus)
At the conclusion of the tour, buyers will be supplied with another shot of hand sanitizer. This one intended to protect the BUYER against having picked up the virus during the showing.
Viewing with children
Home buyer clients are well advised to leave the young ones at home during this time. If this is not possible, home buyers need to keep tight control of their children at all times while in the sellers home. This includes preventing the children from
- Jumping on sellers bed and furniture
- Playing with any toys which might be laying around
- Touching surfaces all over the home
This again serves to protect both the home seller as well as the buyers.
Protecting My Home Seller Clients
If you list your house or condo with me, you could expect the following precautions to be implemented at this time
Free Hand Sanitizer
A bottle of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol b.v. content should be placed at the entrance. The standard “Please Remove Footware Beyond This Point” should be updated with “Please Sanitize Your Hands”. (I will provide this item as soon as I can find one in a Winnipeg store)
Moratorium on Open Houses
At the best of times, the benefits of having unqualified masses schlep thru your home was questionable. The biggest advantage of any Open House is the added exposure (pardon the pun) of the listing agent to un-committed home buyers, helping the agent perhaps in meeting new future clients. For YOU the seller, this is of no benefit.
The new threat of the coronavirus far outweighs the perceived benefits in this case, so I urge all of my home sellers NOT to continue with this practice in the near future. (If you, the seller, absolutely want me to have an open house, I will do so, of course, if the law permits it. All possible precautions will be taken, however the risk remains unacceptably high.)
One Buyer at a Time
Steps have been taken to prevent 2 groups of buyers entering the home at the same (or overlapping) time. Also, buyers will need to be pre-approved before being able to view a listing.
Sellers are encouraged to be out of the home at the time of the showing. If that is not possible (elderly or invalid sellers, for example) the sellers are requested to maintain a distance from the buyers.
All doors, closets etc should be opened prior to the showing and lights turned on, to minimize the need for buyers to touch door handles, light switches, etc.
We need to change and adapt.
As mentioned earlier, these measures may be inadequate and out-dated within a short time, as new information comes to light. Concern for our safety is uppermost in mind, so I will be adjusting my coronavirus protection plan as required.