Tough new measures prohibiting real estate auctions and open home inspections came into action this week, in the latest string of measures to stop the spread of coronavirus. And as social distancing becomes the new norm, it could halt people’s downsizing plans.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Tuesday night that auctions and inspections would be restricted from midnight Wednesday, along with a string of other strict Covid-19-related closures that extend to hair salons, tattoo parlours, food courts in shopping centres, galleries and museums.
“Real estate auctions and open house inspections … that cannot continue,” Mr Morrison said.
But many agents are endeavouring to keep the property market afloat, introducing new ways to buy and sell property, completely online. Along with a growing demand for private inspections, many are now offering virtual tours to walk prospective buyers through a property.
Upside Realty is one such agency which has pivoted to meet the changing climate, setting up remote appraisers, virtual meetings, digital contracts and communication between home-based real estate agents through cloud-based technology to minimise contact between property buyers and sellers in the current climate. Adam Rigby, the founder and CEO of Upside Realty acknowledged that we’re in uncharted territory, facing unprecedented events.
“It’s of utmost importance that government social distancing measures are implemented, and the industry needs to adopt quickly,” he said. “It could be a wake-up call for traditional agencies starting to think about how they are positioned to respond in a way that won’t impact upon the service they provide for their clients.”
They’re now providing the option for buyers and sellers to communicate virtually with their agents over digital devices for any real estate services they require.
“The health and safety of our agents, in addition to our clients, is of utmost importance and other revisions to our processes include upping hygiene guidelines (no more handshaking) and vetting attendees before they enter properties,” Rigby said. As a company, we have always been agile and worked to change around the needs of buyers and sellers.”
Leading agencies such as Ray White have adopted similar protocols.
“For every single property at the moment, we are filming virtual which are up to 13-minutes long, giving a detailed tour for those who want further social distancing or expats who now can’t fly over to see properties,” Ray White New Farm agent Christine Rudolph said.