Closing in a pandemic, moving to a smaller town


Dear David,

I bought a house just before the outbreak and need to close in two months. Now what? – MID-MOVE

DEAR MID-MOVE: Our industry is encouraging everyone else to sit tight if they can, but real estate has been deemed an essential service for these types of situations. Realtors are here to assist people who need a place to go, have already purchased and need to sell, or are mid-way through a transaction. Sales are continuing, but it’s not business as usual.

Until things return to normal, Realtor meetings will probably take place virtually or by phone. You’ll likely see fewer showings with tighter protocols. Buyers are being encouraged to preview houses online and only visit those that strongly meet their criteria. My listings include digital floorplans and virtual tours that allow a viewer to “walk through” the property, and these have proven invaluable in recent weeks.

Interested buyers should expect to complete a COVID-19 questionnaire at each location they visit, attend showings in limited numbers, refrain from touching anything in the house and possibly take measures such as wearing a face mask and gloves. Any offers should be signed electronically, with deposits paid via fund transfer rather than certified cheque.

The Government of Ontario has finally mandated that there be no open houses. I strongly support this. Our team has not held an open house since the pandemic began.

PRO TIP: If you need to move now, don’t panic. As Realtors, we are adapting to meet the challenges of COVID-19. This is a whole new world, but your Realtor’s commitment to your protection hasn’t changed.

Dear David,

We’re thinking of moving back to our hometown, 45 minutes north of the city. The homes there are less expensive, but the commute will be long. Is the move worth it? – HOMESICK

DEAR HOMESICK: Many people choose to trade a significant commute for the lifestyle they want in a location they can afford. Real estate prices tend to drop the further you get from a major metropolitan centre. Whether you’re moving back to your hometown, or commuting into the GTA, you’re likely motivated by real estate affordability, like thousands of others who line the 401 corridor between here and the GTA on a normal weekday morning.

Luckily, your commute sounds significantly less stressful than if you were heading into Toronto. It likely also comes with the benefit of renewed connection to family, friends and familiar places back home.

PRO TIP: Before you make a final decision, figure out the actual cost of travelling. The expense of gas, insurance, maintenance and depreciation will need to be considered, along with the reliability of your vehicle and mileage allowance on your lease (if applicable). Banks don’t currently factor this in, but you should. #AskDavid #Advice