Federation of Real Estate Agency in Finland emphasises the importance of good brokerage practice during the coronavirus pandemic

To maintain public health security, real estate agencies must ensure that meetings with customers and viewings of properties are arranged in a responsible way. When organizing activities, agencies must observe the Regional State Administrative Agencies’ current regional restrictions concerning gatherings, as well as their decisions concerning safe distances and closures of premises.

Real estate transactions must be carried out safely, taking official regulations and guidelines into account

Federation of Real Estate Agency requests that all parties involved in a real estate transaction comply with all the official regulations and guidelines in place to prevent coronavirus infections. Agencies must comply with the requirements of the Regional State Administrative Agency in their area and, when necessary, compile a written plan regarding the changes on business activities caused by restrictions on movement.

Federation of Real Estate Agency also recommends that real estate agents make use of electronic services as much as possible, also in trading activities.

How to organise real estate brokerage via remote access?

Due to the increase in “remote assignments”, the Legal and Advisory Committee of the Federation of Real Estate Agency has compiled instructions for agencies on factors to be taken into account when practising real estate brokerage via remote access. These instructions include matters relating, for example, to remote identity verification, carrying out an assignment, property surveys, video tours and approved electronic signature services.

The Board of the Federation would like to remind agencies that they must always carry out a property survey, that is, inspect any real estate they are going to sell. The property survey must be carried out on site despite the fact that the customer relationship has been established and the commission agreement made via remote access. The survey must be performed before the marketing of the real estate in question is begun. Property surveys are part of a real estate agent’s obligation to obtain information on the property to be sold.

In situations where the customer relationship is established entirely via remote access, enhanced measures are to be applied in verifying the identity of the customer. Our website contains more information on remote identity verification.

To carry out safe apartment and house viewings, follow these safety precautions:

· restrict the number of persons participating in apartment or house viewings open to everyone, or

· agree with the customer on only arranging private viewings, or

· carry out viewings virtually, taking section 6.3.3. of the Code of Conduct in Real Estate into account, and

· according to the instructions of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, it is best to wear a face mask when it is not possible to keep the necessary safe distance or take care of hand and cough hygiene, in addition to which you should greet people without making physical contact.

The Federation would like to remind real estate agencies about the importance of following the instructions set out in the Code of Conduct in Real Estate (section 6.3.3 Transactions Carried out Solely Based on a Video Tour): “The buyer should always, without exception, view the real estate in situ before submitting a binding offer. If the customer insists on submitting a binding offer and concluding a transaction based solely on a video tour, the parties involved in the transaction should be told about any significant risks that may arise as a result of this. The deeds of sale must also mention that the buyer chose to conclude the transaction based solely on a video tour.”

Taking COVID-19 into account in the offer form and deeds of sale

The Legal and Advisory Committee has compiled appendices relating to the pandemic to the purchase offer form and a model clause for the deeds of sale. We recommend continuing the use of the appendices and model clause. They are necessary in situations where the transfer of the object of purchase is delayed or the transaction cannot be organised due to coronavirus.