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Real Estate Open Houses Return with Important COVID-19 Precautions

Now that we are in Phase Three of Ontario’s reopening plans, real estate sellers are once again able to showcase your property in an Open House.

An Open House is an important selling tool, enabling buyers to drop in any time and explore the property. If you are planning to sell—or if you are looking for your next home and planning to attend local Open Houses around Grey-Bruce and Owen Sound—here’s what you need to know about Coronavirus precautions and safety measures currently in place.

Safe Open House Viewing – Best Practices for Coronavirus

The Province of Ontario lifted the prohibition on real estate professionals hosting open houses as of Friday, July 17 at 12:01 a.m., assuming that public health and workplace safety measures and restrictions are in place.

As with all public and social activities, the most important preventative step is to stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill or have symptoms of COVID-19.

If you would like to visit upcoming Open Houses in Grey-Bruce and Owen Sound, follow these guidelines from the Real Estate Council of Ontario:

1. Be prepared for a quick screening and check-in.

Anyone visiting an Open House will be asked a few questions to screen for potential Coronavirus exposure. These questions are required by the Ministry of Health; you can see them here.

As real estate professionals, we are required to document the name and contact information of each person who attended the open house to support effective contact tracing by Public Health, if needed.

2. Wear a non-medical mask or face covering.

This face covering is required by Public Health and is to be worn at all times while indoors. See recommendations about masks and face coverings here.

3. Be prepared to queue in your vehicle or outside, maintaining a safe distance of at least two metres between yourself and others.

The Real Estate Council of Ontario has recommended that we consider requiring all clients to book an appointment in advance for the purposes of physical distancing, flow management and contact tracing. If you arrive at an Open House without an appointment, or if the property has a tight schedule of viewings, you may be asked to wait outside or in your vehicle.

4. Avoid touching any surface inside the home.

We will do our best to facilitate this by ensuring that all doors are open and lights on for the duration of the Open House. Hand sanitizer will be provided at our Open Houses. High-touch surfaces will be cleaned and sanitized as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary environment. Even so, we encourage you to avoid touching surfaces as much as possible.

Viewing Properties and Attending Showings During COVID-19

We will make every effort to ensure the safety of homeowners and buyers for the duration of this pandemic. Your wellbeing is Bill’s top priority, and he thanks each and every one of you for your patience and understanding as we continually adapt together to new public health and safety requirements.

If you have any questions or concerns about property viewing during COVID-19, please give Bill a call at (519) 377-7627 or get in touch through the website.

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Moving to Cottage Country: Choosing a School in Grey and Bruce

Moving to Cottage Country: Choosing a School in Grey and Bruce

Moving your family from Toronto, Hamilton or elsewhere in Southwestern Ontario to Grey and Bruce counties cottage country? You may have questions about the public and private schools available to your family in Owen Sound and the surrounding areas.

The good news is that you have a variety of options to suit your child’s educational needs and often, schools are smaller and more community-based than big-city institutions.

In this post, you’ll find links and information to help you explore schools in Owen Sound, Saugeen Shores, the Bruce Peninsula and more. First, it’s important to recognize that there are four public systems plus private options available in this region.


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Which Home and Property Improvements Really Pay Off?

Average home improvement resale recovery rates.

You want to get the greatest return possible on your investments in property improvements. But which renovations have the best resale recovery rate?

There are some improvements we make to our homes simply because we want to enjoy them. It’s never a bad idea to understand the impact a renovation has on your home’s value, though. This is particularly important if you may sell in the foreseeable future.

If you’re trying to prioritize and considering updating a bathroom, changing out your flooring, or adding a major feature like a swimming pool, check out these average rates of return first.


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Cottage Country Living: Accessing Healthcare in Grey & Bruce

Moving to Cottage Country: How and Where to Access Healthcare in Grey and Bruce

Buying a property in cottage country could be your dream come true. Moving to a new area can pose a lot of questions, though, particularly around healthcare and your ability to access necessary medical services. When you move from Toronto, Hamilton or another more populous city, will you still have access to doctors, emergency services, and home support in Grey and Bruce counties?

Absolutely! In this post, you’ll find links and information to help you prepare for your healthcare needs as you plan your move to Owen Sound, Tobermory, Southampton or the surrounding areas.


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Property Maintenance Checklist

bill mcfarlane property maintenance checklist

Spring has sprung in Grey-Bruce! As our days grow longer and temperatures make outside work more enjoyable, it’s a great time to run through your property maintenance checklist.

Freezing temperatures, snow and ice, spring melt, winds, and sun can all take their toll on your home and property. Taking the time to conscientiously work your way through this checklist at least once per season can help you catch any issues before they become major problems.

You may not need to check every item on the list each and every season. You’ll see which items are recommended for spring, fall, once annually, or as needed in the infographic below.

Feel free to print a copy and keep it handy. Or, bookmark this page so you can return to it as you carry out your inspection and maintenance duties.


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Best Practices for Real Estate Showings During COVID-19

How to view real estate listings during COVID-19, by an Ontario realtor.

Social distancing and shelter-in-place guidelines are certainly slowing the real estate market across Canada, although the extent remains to be seen. However, the need for safe and affordable housing hasn’t stopped and real estate transactions must continue.

If you are in the market to buy real estate, how can you respect social distancing recommendations while still doing your due diligence? In this post, we’ll look at the current recommendations of public health authorities and best practices for real estate showings during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Two Ways of Buying a Property

Two ways of buying a property

What’s the difference between being a customer and a client in a real estate transaction? It might seem like a simple matter of word choice, but there’s quite a bit more to it!

When it comes time to buy a home, you want to be a client. Here’s why.

The Hard Way to Buy a Home: As a “Customer”

Who represents whom? To find a home, buyers usually either look on the internet, in the newspaper, see a sign, or drive around neighbourhoods.


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Simple, Helpful Tips for Sellers

Thinking of listing your home this spring? Get ahead of the game with these simple tips to help you proactively prepare to make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

Declutter.

Pack away personal items, keeping the space clear of extra accessories, knick-knacks, personal photos, etc. This will make it easier for potential buyers to focus on the actual home, rather than the items that won’t be staying. It will help them picture their own lives and loved ones in the house.

Get fresh.

Don’t cover odours—eliminate them. Sometimes covering odours can be much worse than the odour itself. People do not like being confronted by a strong smell, and it may just create the first impression that you are trying to hide something.

Start stowing away.

Do not cram everything into storage space and cupboards. Make sure everything is neat and organized. One of the biggest things potential buyers notice is a lack of storage space. If yours is messy and overflowing they may see it as not enough room.

Make a staging strategy.

If you have been using a spare room as a gym or office, you may want to stage it back to the intended purpose. Don’t confuse the buyers.

Be careful not to over-stage. Having the dining room table fully set for dinner, or over-accessorizing with throw pillows, etc. can distract buyers and make the space feel smaller. Keep it natural and simple.

Want to learn more about selling your home? Check out this post on setting your asking price, attracting qualified buyers, handling viewings, and more.

The content on this web site is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal, financial or other professional advice. Users of this web site are advised to seek specific professional advice by contacting qualified counsel. BillMcFarlane.ca does not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information on this web site. The articles published on this web site are current as of their original date of publication, but should not be relied upon as accurate, timely or fit for any particular purpose.

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Get the Facts on Coronavirus (COVID-2019) with Dr. Peter Lin

The new Coronavirus (COVID-2019) is causing no small amount of stress and fear as new cases arise daily around the world. In Canada, a patient who had been to Iran (not China) recently tested positive after flying from Montreal to Vancouver, generating concerns about the potential spread here at home.

But what do we actually know about the illness?

Dr. Peter Lin is a family physician in Toronto and a CBC News medical contributor. In this new video, he shares information about what this novel Coronavirus (COVID-2019) is, how it works, who is most at risk, and how you can protect yourself.


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