Kitchen Table Real Estate:
How will COVID-19 affect your Real Estate plan?
The COVID-19 situation continues to evolve rapidly and the Ontario Real Estate Association is singularly focusing on helping agents during these uncertain times. One area is providing new Standard Forms tools and resources that assist with the new issues caused by the COVID-19 virus.
The real estate industry, in particular, is a prime example of one that will need to drastically adapt if it’s to be “business as usual.” While brokerages and real estate agents have been deemed “essential services” by the Ontario government, there have been some key changes to the way agents must operate. And it remains unclear how the market will perform as the pandemic evolves.
As people react and adapt to ongoing directives from municipal, provincial and federal governments, we can expect real estate sales to be impacted. The Real Estate Council of Ontario has released a strong recommendation for agents to hold virtual showings instead of open houses and showings, and cancel all planned in-person events. Those who don’t have urgent real estate needs will most likely stay on the sidelines for now, as the situation evolves. Once we’ve mitigated the health risks from COVID-19 and the financial markets stabilize we can expect market activity to resume and recover quickly.
For this reason, the Bank of Canada cut its Overnight Lending Rate to 0.25% on March 27. This will have a direct impact on variable-rate mortgages and lines of credit. Those getting a brand-new fixed-rate mortgage, or coming up to renewal or refinance, will likely have access to lower rates than compared to a month ago.
To support Canadians facing financial hardship, the six major Canadian banks—Bank of Montreal, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC, Scotiabank and TD Bank—announced in a joint press release on March 17, new measures to help Canadians manage challenges or illness due to COVID-19, stating, “This support will include up to a six-month payment deferral for mortgages, and the opportunity for relief on other credit products.”
Before you run into trouble paying your mortgage, contact your bank for more details.
If your home is for sale, follow Health Canada advice to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Before you visit a home or receive any potential buyer ask them if they have traveled outside of the country in the past 14 days, have had close contact with someone who has a confirmed case of Covid-19. Only have a qualified buyer enter your home. Maintain social distancing. Upon completion of any showing air out the premises and disinfect all surfaces.
If you need to sell your house now, more than ever a Real Estate Professional can help you during these uncertain times. Call your Realtor and ask for advice.