The world’s focus seems to be on the economic impact of Covid-19. However from a real estate perspective, the experts seem to agree the impact will look very different than 2008 (this CNN story is a good read from an economic perspective). So in the meantime, Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands
Given the news, it’s a good time to plan for contingencies, here are a couple of thoughts:
- Have a Person - Have a plan to cover your real estate files if you need to be away;
- Take Notes - Develop a good habit of placing notes on files so that a coverage person understands next steps; these notes should include key contact persons for that file (ie; lawyers, home inspectors, accountants, strata managers)
- Keep Dates - Have important dates CLEARLY diarized: a) offer open dates, b) subject removal dates, c) closing dates, d) possession dates.
Powers of Attorney
This is an important time to ensure that, especially for elderly clients, they have an enforceable POA in place to assist in the managing of their financial and real estate affairs.
Here is a POA checklist:
- Does the POA grant the right person the authority to do the contemplated act (usually sell real estate)?
- Is the POA still valid, not expired and has not been revoked by the Donor (check 3 year rule)?
- If the Donor is incompetent, is the POA an enduring power of attorney?
- Has the POA become invalid due to a bankruptcy or death of the Donor?
Best Practice: Before acting on a POA, have the POA reviewed by your client’s lawyer and have him or her verify its enforceability and register the POA in the land title office.
Health Representation Agreements
Should not be confused with POA’s, sometimes call a living will, but this is BC specific legislation that manages someone’s lifestyle and health choices (as opposed to the financial affairs). This is a very important estate planning document that everyone should have, but from a real estate perspective, the POA (or will after death) governs.
A Bright Side – Interest Rates.
Locally, the interest rate cut from the Bank of Canada will likely represent one of the best opportunities for first time home buyers to enter the market in the foreseeable future.
Peter Borszcz - Montgomery Miles & Stone Law Firm