With a surge in cases of COVID-19, real estate groups in the province have called for a moratorium on open houses — a plan with which the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association (KADREA) agrees.
The groups involved include the BC Real Estate Association, the Real Estate Council of BC and the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate, which released a joint statement on Thursday (Nov. 5), asking realtors not to hold open houses and to limit face-to-face interactions.
KADREA president Wendy Runge said the group takes directions from the Real Estate Council of BC and will follow through, restricting local realtors from posting open house events on professional websites such as realtor.ca and asking members to cease such events.
“Honestly, I have not seen very many in Kamloops,” Runge said, noting that since open houses were once again allowed after first being restricted in April, she has only seen open houses “here and there” in the region.
Those who did host open houses during the permitted period had to do so with strict COVID-19 guidelines, Runge said.
“But I think a lot of members just felt like it was hard to do that well, so they just opted not to do them,” she said.
Although local realtors are restricted from posting open house events on some websites controlled by the region’s real estate association, they could, Runge said, still post signs and host the events.
“It’s hard to direct people and say, ‘Well, you can’t do this.’ But we can give guidance and say it’s not recommended,” she said. “They could still put a sign out on the street, I guess, but they have to realize they’re taking a lot of risk in doing so if someone complains.”
Open houses or not, real estate sales in the region — and in much of B.C. and across Canada — remain as active as ever, meaning realtors have had to get creative in how they show houses.
Runge said the Kamloops and district area was one of the first in Canada to implement live virtual tours.
Other precautions, when meeting in person is necessary, include COVID-19 screening forms, hand sanitizing, limiting the number of people in a house at any given time and following other WorkSafeBC guidelines.
“We’re committed to doing this right because we don’t want to get shut down, for one, and, more importantly, we know people need to buy and sell houses, so we’re committed to doing whatever it takes,” she said.