Conveyancing Considerations During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The second half of 2020 has been a busy time for real estate transactions, which has resulted in an increase in conveyancing. To help control the spread of COVID-19, it remains paramount to continue using technology to reduce in-person contact during all aspects of a transaction, including conveyancing.
In dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, Realtors have adapted their business practices to help ensure safety by using virtual technologies to show, market and view homes, meet with clients and execute documents remotely. Similarly, legal professionals have adapted their practices by offering services such as remote signing and video conferencing.
With respect to conveyancing, lawyers and notaries have implemented protocols in their offices to help reduce risk and maintain the safety of their staff and clients. To ensure social distancing can be observed and the appropriate cleaning and disinfecting protocols followed, this likely means limiting the number of people that can visit an office at one time - which may impact completion dates.
To help ensure a smooth closing, advise your clients to talk to their legal professionals as soon as possible to determine:
- What options are available from their legal professional i.e., can the transaction be executed virtually, or will they need to visit the office?
- What dates the legal professional can accommodate the completion. Where dates are flexible, consider having real estate transactions complete at dates other than the middle or end of the month, which typically tend to be busier times for legal professionals. This will reduce the number of in-person interactions taking place on the same day and help to ensure physical distancing can be maintained. It can be helpful to know if completion dates are flexible before a client enters into the contract.
- What safety protocols are in place if a client must attend the office in person.
With this knowledge, clients will be better informed before entering into a contract as to the timeline and measures that can be taken to help ensure their safety and the safety of those around them.
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