Each and every one of us is impacted by the unfolding events relating to the global coronavirus pandemic. Things are changing almost daily and we are all navigating those changes in the best way we can.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison made several announcements that have had a dramatic impact on the way we do things in response to the rapid spread of the virus in Australia, including the way we transact real estate.
Due to social distancing rules, which are in place to keep everyone safe, live auctions and open homes (for both sales and rentals) are no longer permitted. This has many people wondering if it is still possible to buy, sell or rent. The answer is YES YOU CAN. It just requires a few adjustments. The real estate industry has been preparing for those changes for the last few weeks and most have been quick to adapt their practices to become as contactless as possible as the situation evolves.
Here’s how you can buy, sell or find a new rental property in the current situation.
In place of open homes, all property inspections will now be by appointment only. This is true for properties for sale or for rent. A strict minimum distancing rule of 1.5 metres will be enforced and nothing may be touched within the property. Your agent will do what they can to ensure you achieve a detailed property viewing, e.g. by leaving all internal doors and cupboards open or opening them for you as they go, wearing disposable gloves.
Some agents are using technology like Facetime to enable buyers to view a property as the agent walks through it. This allows the buyer to ask the agent to stop and check certain rooms or spaces in more detail as they go. Others are using Facebook Live videos, Whatsapp and other similar technology to create virtual tours that may be accessed anytime via social media or, via a web book (digital brochure) link. Some property listings on reiwa.com.au now include virtual walk throughs and floor plans.
While live auctions are off the cards, some agents are turning to technology or the phone (for bidding) to run those too.
If you are a landlord, you may be concerned how periodic inspections will be conducted during this time. Some property managers have adapted their inspection practices by using Facetime or Whatsapp and asking the tenant to walk through the property and check off the items on the inspection list, as they normally would during a normal routine inspection. Check with your property manager to see what processes they have put in place.
Technology like DocuSign makes it possible and 100% legal to have contracts or a lease agreement completed and signed online.
As the situation is continuing to evolve, it is best to contact your agent or property manager to ask what practices they currently have in place.
Here at Shelmark, we are following all the correct protocols and are working hard to establish new systems and processes that will enable us to do as much as we possibly can online. In the meantime, all inspections of currently listed properties for sale are by private appointment only.