To help you see a bit more clearly in the present situation when it comes to the real estate market, Katia Samson, Founder of Katia Samson Real Estate Group, answers your most important questions about buying and selling residential properties in Montreal during the 2020 pandemic.

Q: Is it possible to sell or buy a property right now?

A: In order to comply with the new rules put forward by the government concerning quarantine and isolation during this Coronavirus pandemic, Katia Samson Real Estate Group continues to carry out real estate transactions by working remotely and using all the technological tools available to us: conference calls, virtual visits, electronic signatures, as well with the amazing collaboration of our mortgage brokers and notaries, who are working in close collaboration with us in this new reality of real estate.

Right now, we are mostly working on real estate transactions that were already in the process of being completed, but this is not necessarily the best time to put your house up for sale or visit condos.

If you’ve already listed your property on the market, you can continue to move forward. You should expect a slowdown in the next few weeks during this “pause”. We are still receiving requests for visits on our listings, which we will be able to plan after April 13th, when the restrictions on home showings will be lifted. We also believe this period will eliminate curious people and buyers who are less serious, and therefore this is an advantage for you.

Q: I’ve been wanting to put my property on the market, but is it better to wait after this crisis passes?

A: Following directions from the government, the OACIQ (self-regulatory body for real estate brokerage in Quebec) has asked real estate brokers and agents not to schedule any visits and to limit contact with clients until April 13th. Properties that go on the market before that date will therefore not benefit from the maximum exposure for sellers who want the best price. But it is possible to start working on the paperwork for the upcoming sale.

This mandatory pause in our lives is the perfect opportunity to prepare your home so that you get the best price possible by doing a full clean-up, decluttering to free up space, doing necessary paint touch-ups, repairing cabinet doors that don’t close well, etc.

Q: I was in the process of looking for a new property because I have to move this summer. How can I find a new home on time, in this context?

A: If your situation is urgent, certain properties might be available for you to visit, without a broker and with social distancing. In other cases, virtual visits can be arranged. It’s always possible to make an offer remotely with the proper electronic forms and signatures, conditional on a satisfactory visit after April 13, 2020.

We invite our customers to complete this form if they want to visit a property

Q: I am concerned about the coronavirus in the property I am moving to. Does the seller have a legal obligation to inform me about the state of their health?

A: According to the OACIQ, the seller’s state of health is not information that must be recorded in the seller’s declaration form on the building. According to the Government of Canada, the coronavirus has a lifespan of 24 hours on paper and cardboard, up to three days on plastic, and six days in a moist environment. So we can conclude that after a week there should no longer be any risk.

It is also possible for the buyer to request that the property be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected by professionals. The buyer may also choose to wait a few days after the sellers have left before moving in.

Q: The stock market and my investments have fluctuated dramatically since the beginning of March. Is the price of houses expected to go down?

A: It’s still too early to tell. We believe that it was the lack of available properties that drove up prices in the housing market. It will all depend on how many sellers there are after April 13th. For comparison, following September-11 there was no drop in real estate, despite the fact that the stock market fell.

Q: I just saw my dream home and I’d like to visit, but because of social distancing what options are available?

A: Ask your broker what the visit guidelines are, and to be kept in the loop. This way you will be informed if a promise to purchase is received. Even if we are not in close physical contact with our clients, some properties do allow visits with certain precautions. It’s up to you to decide if you’re comfortable with them. If no visits are allowed before April 13th, you still have the option of making a promise to purchase conditional on a satisfactory visit, following this period of self-isolation.