A letter from the CEO:
Like the rest of Canadians, we at Umber Realty have been staying home to help ‘flatten the curve’. We’ve been using this downtime to think about the future of real estate in the midst of a pandemic. We know that, even in these challenging times, people need to list properties. The factors that motivate people to buy and sell (like the requirement to buy a bigger home to accommodate additional family members or to downsize to free up cash flow) remain, and in some cases are heightened, in crisis situations. The Government of Ontario has recognized real estate as an essential service that needs to continue to operate.
I’m writing today to outline the approach Umber is implementing to allow necessary business to continue in a way that protects the health and safety of clients, prospective buyers, and agents. This approach capitalizes on Umber’s full integration of technology into its client service. Features that Umber already offers its clients—virtual reality (VR) tours, electronic signatures, text/email/video chat communications—enable it to conduct its real estate operations in a safe and effective manner.
VR tours, an innovation Umber has been a leader in introducing to the real estate industry, allow sellers to showcase their homes to potential buyers in a safe and physically distant way. Clients in the market for a new home can ‘walk’ through properties that interest them, exploring layouts, rooms and features in a way that closely approximates a physical showing. The 360 degree immersive experience gives prospective buyers a ‘real life’ understanding of how a property matches their vision of their next home.
Umber will be offering a suite of VR services, to private sellers, other realtors, and our clients, to enable the greatest number of people to take advantage of this safe and convenient way to view properties. We believe that minimizing the volume of in-person showings of properties is the most effective way for the real estate industry to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and we want to do all we can to facilitate this option.
We understand that clients may still want to visit a property before submitting an offer. We will work with sellers and prospective clients to ensure, through pre and post disinfecting of a property and strict adherence to Heath Canada’s physical distancing advice, the safest possible viewing.
The business aspects of a property sale will be conducted via phone/text/email/video chat. Offers can be submitted, amended and accepted via email, using electronic signature. Umber’s familiarity with these technologies means you will be working with an agent who is well-versed in its usage, and can easily provide guidance to clients who require it.
To all our clients, current and future, and to the community we work in: we are doing all we can to continue an essential service in trying times. Umber is here for you, even if it remains at least two metres away.