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Facts about Covid-19

Fully referenced facts about Covid-19


For Full Facts updated regularly go to https://swprs.org/a-swiss-doctor-on-covid-19/

Brothers in arms: Realtors’ solutions for staying productive and sane

How realtors and mortgage brokers overcome the isolation, boredom and stir-craziness

Clayton Jarvis
Mortgage Broker News

Realtors and mortgage brokers are used to playing on the same team, but never to the extent seen today. The battle against COVID-19 (and isolation, and boredom, and stir-craziness) has bonded agents and brokers in an “Oh, we are all in this together” kind of way that goes beyond professional courtesy. The circumstances are regrettable, but the real estate industry’s intensely cooperative reaction surely isn’t.

MBN spoke to real estate agents from across the country to find out how they’re driving business and, even more importantly, how they’re staying sane as the country comes to realize that the COVID-19 crisis is still in its early stages.

How are you evolving your business during COVID-19?

Sahil Jaggi, RE/MAX Realtron Realty (Mississauga, ON): There is some insecurity in our jobs as we are 100% commission, so without showings or meetings it’s hard for agents to be as productive. I’ve been focusing a lot on organizing my CRM systems and accounting. It’s also a good time to educate yourself with bebinars, podcasts, books etc.

Anthony Brown, Royal LePage Atlantic (Halifax, NS): I love learning, so I’ve been reading a ton and taking doing one webinar or online training activity every day. I’ve also been doing some business mapping exercises.

Patty Mack, RE/MAX Camosun (Victoria, BC): I have been self-isolating, but I stay in touch with clients by email, text and calling, just to touch base and say hi.  Providing virtual tours, Docusign and electronic file exchanging is critical until health experts tell us we can return to normal. We are an essential service and must show leadership in this crisis.  We all have to do our part to get over this curve. 

David Fleming, Bosley Real Estate (Toronto, ON): I’ve been writing three blogs per week since 2007, and I’m not going to change that now.  I’m continuing to produce new content, and even doing my “Pick5” video every Thursday, even though there aren’t many new listings, since I know people are starved for content and might be tired of Netlfix.

Paul Roussel, RE/MAX Escarpment Woolcott Realty (Burlington, ON): We’re maintaining communication with our current and past clients as well as keeping up with our “warm calls” to leads in our database. Our message has less to do with real estate and more to do with supporting our community and offering help in any way we can. We are still listing homes and, amazingly, they are getting some showings and even selling. We haven’t seen a big price dip but it’s certainly taking a little longer to sell than our crazy hot sellers’ market in the first 2 months of the year.

Tarek El Attar, RE/MAX Affiliates Realty (Ottawa, ON): We have our entire administrative and ISA team working from home, so we have taken a community-centered approach to our marketing, integrating things like 3D showings.

AJ Hazzi, Vantage West Real Estate (Kelowna, BC): We have been moving our meetings into the virtual realm via Zoom, have been masterminding the latest video techniques and are now incorporating some interactive video.  COVID-19 has also forced us to take a good hard look at the fixed expenses of our business.

How are you staying sane during COVID-19?

Patty Mack: Like most people, we have simplified our life and are staying home.  We self-isolated after being out of the country and all of our children are staying home as well. We’ve been in closer touch than usual, with lots of video chats and family Zoom meetings.  It is so important to take the guidelines and restrictions seriously.  It is mandatory that we self-isolate and maintain social distancing. 

Tarek El Attar: Every day gets treated as a workday. It is essential that industry professionals have a nice home office – a space they can enter and truly get into their work zone in a time like this. I have books on the go and I’m also taking three different university programs in negotiation, leadership and commercial real estate development. This is an opportunity to grow and evolve, as Winston Churchill said, never let a good crisis go to waste.

Sahil Jaggi: Exercise has been really helpful. I’m going home workouts and I go for a bike ride every day. Podcasts and Audible have been great. I have also taken this time to reconnect with some old clients. 

David Fleming: Maintaining a routine is key. As Realtors, we are accustomed to our daily schedule, which is often regimented, and involves time-blocking. To stay at home with the family and just take the day as it comes to you is a recipe for boredom, frustration, and a feeling of displacement.  I try to work in my office from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., then spend some time with the kids, then head back to work a bit more in the afternoon and again late at night, which is typically when I would be doing offers, listing presentations, or showings.

Anthony Brown: Going back to the basics has helped. Things like good sleep, daily exercise, good nutrition, drinking lots of water and meditating really make a difference.

AJ Hazzi: I’ve been using this time to produce content for both realtors and the public.  It’s also been nice to be home spending time with our six-month old daughter (although my wife would say I’ve been on the phone or in Zoom chats around the clock).  I can tell you this much, I’ve not been bored.

Paul Roussel: I’ve got three kids (8, 6, 2) so my house can be like a zoo at times but my wife and I are trying to maintain structure in their days. We go outside just in front of our home or walk around the block just to get some fresh air. We’re very careful with keeping our distance from everyone. In fact we are not allowing any visitors during this time, even the grandparents. It’s difficult for everyone. On the flip side of that, it’s been nice to spend lots of time with my wife and kids. We just have to avoid falling into the iPhone/ipad abyss. 

Copyright © 2020 Key Media

COVID-19 slowing the alternative market

The virus has put construction projects on ice and forced industry players to cancel any face-to-face contact

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

Activity in Canada’s alternative lending segment is expected to significantly decelerate amid the global COVID-19 outbreak.

The virus has put construction projects on ice and forced industry players to cancel any face-to-face contact.

Morrison Financial Mortgage Corp. in Toronto has announced that it is placing on hold all new purchases, dividends, and redemptions.

“The real estate market is at a total, or near-total, shutdown,” Morrison Financial principal David Morrison told BNN Bloomberg. “Many larger companies of the same ilk are in the same boat and have been forced to take, or are in the process of considering similar action.”

Trez Capital in Vancouver has also suspended cashouts on investor funds amounting to more than $3 billion. The company said that while it has yet to suffer any defaults, it cannot provide an estimate as to when investors can begin redeeming again.

“We have to protect everything,” Trez chairman and chief executive officer Morley Greene stated.

Figures from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation indicated that the alternative market represented around 1% of the nation’s mortgages last year. The segment had around $14 billion in outstanding mortgages, held by an estimated 200 to 300 lenders.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Coronavirus upends GTA condo market

COVID-19 has caused an immediate slowdown in housing market activity

Ephraim Vecina
Mortgage Broker News

A few weeks into Ontario’s state of emergency, the Greater Toronto Area’s condo sector is now bordering on being a buyers’ market – a full 180-degree turn from its previous status as one of the most desirable multi-family housing destinations in Canada.

“While real estate fundamentals indicate that housing demand will bounce back over the long-term in major urban centres like Toronto, COVID-19 has caused an immediate slowdown in housing market activity and across the economy more broadly,” Zoocasa stated in its latest analysis.

From March 3 to the final week of the month, the market’s condo sales fell by a dramatic 53%, from 1,541 to 729. The number of new listings also declined by 26%, from 2,490 to 1,842.

“This was a swift shift from sellers’ market conditions between March 3-16 when the [sale-to-new-listings-ratio] was 62%, to market conditions bordering those of a buyers’ market just two weeks later where the SNLR was 40%,” Zoocasa said.

For both detached and semi-detached homes, sales dropped by a comparable 53% during the same time frame, from 2,435 to 1,153 transactions. New listings across all housing types decreased by 30%, from 4,503 to 3,140.

The current pandemic has decimated financial and housing markets nationwide, with Toronto seeing a hard stop despite an average home price growth of around 9% year-over-year during the last full week of March (ending up at roughly $856,000).

Copyright © 2020 Key Media

Making the best of it: staying productive during COVID-19

Getting ahead of the daily malaise is to be productive

Clayton Jarvis
Mortgage Broker News

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on – more than 900,000 cases were confirmed worldwide at time of writing, with over 8,600 in Canada – brokers and their clients are staring down the barrel of at least another two weeks of strict social distancing.

Waking up each day to a cocktail of rising death tolls and sinking stock prices can leave even the most dedicated mortgage professional struggling to stay focused and productive. Chris Leader, president of Leader’s Edge Training, says one way of getting ahead of the daily malaise is to be productive before even waking up.

Leader’s “High Five” program encourages both real estate agents and mortgage brokers to primarily leverage automated messaging technology to reach out to their databases.

“It’s polite, it’s respectful and it’s proactive, with the upside of generating business going forward,” Leader says. “It’s a bit on the passive side, but it’s really productive.”

Leader’s “High Five” activities include:

  1. Sending five texts – something positive and relatable – to five different people. This is a great strategy for keeping the lines of communication flowing and normalized.
  2. Sending five emails, again to five unique receivers. Email may not be the chosen form of communication for all mortgage clients, but it’s still an effective way of reaching out to people who aren’t fused to their phones.
  3. Writing five social media posts. There’s no better way of staying relevant and plugged in. Leader says leaving comments on others’ posts is another way of engaging, but that’s hard to automate – unless you also run a troll farm in Uzbekistan.
  4. Writing five handwritten cards/notes. While this particular strategy can’t be automated, it provides a calm, thoughtful start to the day and offers your recipients a pleasant surprise when your note arrives.
  5. Leaving five voicemails. Leader recommends a service like SlyDial, where originators can leave voicemails without ringing the recipient’s phone.

“If you put out 25 of those contact points every day, that’s basically 125 a week, 500 a month, 6,000 a year,” Leader says. “If you’re looking at even a 5% conversion rate on some of that business, you’d be looking at 30 transactions from nothing more than staying connected to your sphere and using technology to do it.”

Leader, who trained loan officers at TD Bank, RBC and Dominion Lending Centres before transitioning to coaching realtors across North America, says staying in regular contact with your client base is an important component of not only maintaining business, but of maintaining everyone’s emotional and psychological stability during an unprecedentedly confusing time.

“It’s about reaching out, staying connected and letting the community know that you’re here,” Leader says.

Copyright © 2020 Key Media

How to show a property through video chat

Brokerages encouraging the use of virtual showings

Rachel Hammer

As we Realtors do our part to minimize the spread of COVID-19, adopting new strategies and techniques for safely showing properties is essential. Many brokerages are encouraging Realtors to use virtual showings in place of in-person ones. When you can’t meet your clients in person, the best way to show them a house from a safe distance is to use video chat.

It’s hard to believe that any buyer would make such a monumental financial decision without visiting a property. At this time, most do not. A virtual tour via video chat is merely a tool to help buyers vet a property and can be followed up by an in-person showing if they really love the home. Alternatively, some Realtors have been presenting offers with clauses that make the agreement conditional upon viewing the property at a later date.

If you’ve never used video chat apps to conduct showings before, here is your crash course in how to conduct a virtual showing using just your smartphone or tablet.

Step 1: Choose an app that works for you and your clients

Your choice of app will depend on the devices you and your clients have access to, your comfort level with technology and the number of people you want to include on the video chat. Here are some popular options that are easy to use. To use any of these apps, both you and your client must have the app installed or have an account with the web version of the service. More on that below.


For Apple device users, the easiest option for video chat may be a FaceTime call. This method most resembles a typical phone call, with the addition of video. Both you and your clients must have Apple devices (iPhones, iPads or Mac computers) in order to use FaceTime. To make a video call, open the FaceTime app, choose your client’s contact and click the call button.

Facebook Messenger

If FaceTime is not an option, Facebook Messenger could be your video chat tool. This requires both you and your client to have a Facebook account, and to be connected as Friends. Download the Messenger app in advance and log in. We recommend using text chat to confirm that your clients are ready for the tour before starting a video call. To make the call, click the camera button in the top right corner.


A popular alternative video chat app, especially if you are chatting with multiple people in different locations, is Zoom. This easy-to-use app allows you to conference with many people at once and make a recording of the chat for later review. To use this app, visit Zoom.us and sign up for an account. You’ll have to download the app on your mobile device or tablet as well by visiting the App Store (Apple) or Play Store (Android), and sign in there.

Before you head to the showing, schedule a meeting using the Schedule button on the app home screen. Choose your date, time and other settings to create the meeting. Zoom.us provides you with a template invitation, so all you have to do is send an email to your clients. They will use the link in that email to join the meeting when it’s time. Remember, they too have to have the app installed on their device(s) and should do so in advance to save time.  


You can chat with up to four people on video using WhatsApp. Like other apps on this list, WhatsApp requires you to create an account and add your clients as contacts before you can chat. To make a video call with WhatsApp, open a chat with your client and click the video camera icon at the top of the screen.


This app has been on the scene for a long time. To use Skype, you need to create an account and choose a username, as will your clients. Add each other as contacts with your usernames. The app can be downloaded onto your mobile device in advance. Starting a video chat is much like starting a phone call. You click on the contact’s name, start call and enable video.

Google Hangouts

This is the free version of Google Hangouts Meet, and you likely already have access to this app if you use Gmail. If you don’t already have a Google account, you will have to create one and download the app to your mobile device. Add your clients as a contact using their email address and place a video call by selecting the contact and clicking the camera icon at the top of the screen.

Step 2: Connect to Wi-Fi

Ask the listing agent for Wi-Fi login details in advance so that you can show the property with the highest video quality possible. When you arrive at a property, connect to the Wi-Fi before calling your clients. Let the client know that you will need a few minutes to establish a connection and that they should expect your call soon after the appointment begins.

Step 3: Set yourself up to shoot great video

When you place a video call to your clients, make sure you are standing in a spot with good light on your face. By default, all the apps on this list begin a video call using the camera on the front of your phone, so the first thing your clients will see is you. If you’re standing with your back to a window or in a dark spot, all they will see is a shadow.

At the start of the call, take a minute or two to talk to your clients about their expectations for the virtual tour, and give them your first impression of the home. When it’s time to start the tour, engage the camera on the back of your phone by clicking the icon that looks like a camera with circular arrows inside it.

Remember, on any app there will likely be a short delay between what you see or say, and what the client receives on their end. Make sure to pan your device slowly so that the camera can pick up essential details. Speak clearly.

Video chat alone will not sell a house, which is why your experience is so important. While you’re in the house, give your clients the details that can’t be observed on video chat, such as traffic noise from nearby roads, pet odours, drafts and even a sense of scale.

It’s perfectly normal to feel unsure the first time you show a property through video chat. It’s something you’ve probably never done before, and it may take a few minutes for you to find your groove. Keep practicing, and soon you’ll be as comfortable with video chat as you are with in-person showings.

With care and dedication, we can all make a difference in limiting the spread of COVID-19 and help our industry return to business as usual. Stay safe out there, and good luck!

© 1989-2020 REM Real Estate Magazine