by Baldev S. Gill, Chief Executive Officer

Today’s eMemo contains the following updates:

  • Temporarily restricting in-person Open House Functionality on Paragon as COVID cases continue to rise
  • Use leading edge alternatives to replicate open houses 

Temporarily restricting in-person Open House Functionality on Paragon as COVID cases continue to rise

Yesterday, BCREA issued a joint news release with the Real Estate Council of BC. (RECBC) asking that REALTORS® temporarily not hold in-person open houses until case numbers come down to manageable levels.

They took this action in response to the unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases in our province. We fully support and endorse this decision because it is important that we in the real estate sector, continue to demonstrate leadership by doing our part to flatten this pandemic’s curve.

To this end, FVREB, in collaboration with various other real estate Boards in the province, has taken the step of temporarily disabling the in-person Open House feature on Paragon. This change will take place early morning, Friday, November 6.

We need to do what we can to keep our clients, our communities, our colleagues, peers, and ourselves as safe as we possibly can.

With the in-person Open House functionality disabled, only Board staff will be able to delete Open Houses from the system (and we will only do so with your emailed instructions).

The live stream Open House functionality remains fully accessible to you and we encourage you to use and take advantage of this.

BCREA has also developed new guidance on how to make showings safer in alignment with new orders from the Provincial Health Officer and updated the Safe Return to Work Checklist for Managing Brokers. Please access and use these materials to help guide you, as you pivot to leveraging and embracing new technologies and virtual open house options (here and here) as you did during the first COVID-19 wave back in early Spring.

By way of context, as indicated by BCREA, while the severity of the pandemic varies markedly from health region to health region, the whole province is seeing an increase in transmission rates. With that in mind, public health authorities have decided to implement provincewide mitigation measures. It is possible that additional regional measures may be put into place at some later date.

We will continue to monitor developments and communicate those out to you to ensure you are kept up to date with changes that impact your business.

Use leading edge alternatives to replicate in-person open houses 

A reminder on what we communicated out to you last week, if you are thinking of holding an open house or have one scheduled, please educate your clients on the fact that in-person open houses are not possible at this time and guide them to instead, consider industry leading-edge alternatives to effectively showcase their properties:

  • Virtual tours (remember you have the ability to post three URLs on Paragon under these fields: Virtual Tour, Alt Feature Sheet and Property Brochure)
  • Live stream a virtual Open House
  • Post up to 40 property photos on Paragon

Also, whenever possible, please use e-transaction and digital technologies to review and complete real estate forms and contracts.

We all need to remain vigilant to stay safe and do our part to keep the public safe.