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The New Rules for Buying a Home During a Pandemic

We look at how house hunting has changed and what you need to know if you’re looking for a new home

A realtor and two prospective home buyers are shown wearing masks in front of a front door

The housing market is hot

A surprising side effect of Covid-19 has been a hot real estate market as people look for work-from-home space or more affordable neighbourhoods. How has the pandemic impacted the way we house hunt? Read on for advice.

Safety protocols for house hunters

From the start of the pandemic, real estate was deemed an essential service. Safety protocols—such as physical distancing and wearing masks—were put in place to protect buyers, sellers and realtors. Though open houses were banned, some realtors offered virtual open houses.

“The big [change] with our team is no double booking,” says realtor and broker Amy Flowers of the Amy Flowers Team with the Royal LePage Meadowtowne Reality Inc. Brokerage in Milton. Ont. “Normally you could have two showings at the same time. We’ve also reduced the timeframe from an hour to 30 minutes.” 

Additionally, only two people and their realtor are allowed per showing and everybody has to sign off on a Covid-19 release form, including the seller.

Virtual home tours

Some realtors are also offering livestreamed video tours with potential buyers, which is particularly helpful during the preliminary buying stage. “Technology helps to weed out the stuff that you don’t want,” Flowers says. That can help limit in-person showings to only the most serious buyers. And even buying home insurance—which homeowners should think about as soon as they bid on a new home that has been accepted—can be done in a virtual world.

A home away from home

The Loft space is shown with multiple seating areas and a desk at the end of the room

But showings are more challenging during rolling lockdowns, since there’s nowhere for the seller to go. Amy Flowers and her brokerage team tackled this issue by offering The Loft, a self-contained space where a seller can spend the day while the realtor is staging or showing their home. The Loft includes an updated ventilation system, as well as sitting and WFH areas, a play area for children and a kitchen.

So while the process looks a bit different these days, technology, safety protocols and a little bit of ingenuity are making it possible to find a new home.

Get More with CAA

Now that you’ve found the perfect home, make sure you protect it with CAA Home Insurance. Speak with a licensed CAA Insurance Agent about coverage options for your new home, whether it’s a condo in the heart of downtown or a townhouse or a detached home in the suburbs.

Image Credit: iStock.com/FatCamera