Open houses across the country are being cancelled, but individual showings are still available, says Central Alberta Realtors Association executive officer Larry Westergard. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

Realtors trying to adapt to ‘current situation’

Open houses closed around country

Real estate agents have to adapt to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, says the Central Alberta Realtors Association’s executive officer.

“We’re facing a lot of unique circumstances right now, so you try best to modify normal life to the current situation,” Larry Westergard said Tuesday.

Potential homebuyers will need to have scheduled appointments, because all open houses have been cancelled.

“That’s not only a local decision, but that’s a provincial and national decision,” said Westergard.

“That’s out of respect for the current health crisis we’re in. We’re trying to follow the recommendations and guidelines the provincial government has put forward.”

One of the concerns surrounding open houses is that they are completely “open to the public,” said Westergard.

“There’s no guarantee on how many people will actually be coming in and interacting in that period. We’re very mindful of the fact that you don’t have that ability to adequately screen everyone who’s entering the home and interacting with other people who are visiting it, the realtor member, or the seller.

“You can’t control if the virus is being left on the seller’s light switches or door handles, and such. We’re trying to be very mindful and respectful of everybody involved in the realty transaction,” said Westergard.

Individual showings are still available, he added.

“It’s a lot more of a controlled environment. We do have some guidelines we’ve sent out to our members, as far as questions that should be asked of a buyer who wants to look at a home, and to the seller as well.

“If there’s been any exposure, if there are any concerns, so we can adequately assess if that showing should go ahead.”

The pandemic has impacted the industry, Westergard added.

“There has been a downturn, so you are seeing less activity out there,” he said.

“These are different times. I think that we are trying to respect everything the government says about how if you don’t have to go out, stay home and trying to balance that with the need to service our clients who need to still look for a home.”

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