Property sales continue amid Coronavirus crisis

By Samantha Thorne

Homebuyers and sellers are still active in the property market despite the newest social distancing and auction regulations announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison earlier this week.

While there is increased economic uncertainty, those who are ready to purchase and those who need to sell are not letting Covid-19 change their plans, with agents agreeing that buyers who are coming to the table now are more genuine than ever.

After the government ban on auctions, agents moved to reschedule auctions earlier to Wednesday evening, ahead of the changes that came into effect at 12 midnight. Sellers, agents and buyers looked to close deals as quickly as possible. 

“We sold an excess of 50% of properties in those last 24-48 hours,” said Mr Ben Thomas, a real estate agent from Ferntree Gully in Victoria. 

ben thomas ray white ferntree gully
Ben Thomas | Ray White Ferntree Gully

“One was 6 Norman St, The Basin, which sold for $230,000 above reserve, which was crazy. The reserve was $1.1m and one of the guys in our office sold it for $1.33m.

6 Norman St, The Basin
6 Norman St, The Basin sold for $1.33m.

“We had little yellow dots putting everyone at least 1.5m to 2m apart. It was a closed auction as well, where you can only have genuine bidders,” Mr Thomas said.

“There are still plenty of people who need to buy and plenty of sellers out there,” he said.

While Covid-19 is having an undeniable effect on the way real estate agents conduct business, they are quickly adapting to enable both buyers and sellers to transact. 

“We’re still doing private inspections. We’ve got about seven or eight inspections booked this weekend. We just have to work a little bit harder at the moment, but we are still open for business. Obviously our office is closed now, but we are still doing plenty of deals,” Mr Thomas said.

With a ban on auctions and open homes agents are paying closer attention to their existing databases. 

“Databases are king at the moment, which is why you need the best agent working on your property. 

“Right now it’s about relationships, and calling people and saying ‘come and have a look at this property’ and getting people through the doors.

“That’s the most important thing at the moment. Having an agent that sells more than anyone in the area because they have the buyers and the database ready to go, and they are qualified people who have missed out on homes,” Mr Thomas said.

 
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This same approach, coupled with leveraging technology, is working for Mr Kevin Chokshi, real estate agent and auctioneer from Ray White Cheltenham.

“We’re doing good things at the moment. We’ve got the GAVL livestream app set up. We’ve done a video tour for every property that we have on our books. We’ve also booked in 3D walkthroughs, which has been excellent. 

“We’re doing a lot of social media and text messaging, and both have been powerful for engagement because people have more time,” Mr Chokshi said. 

Yesterday Mr Chokshi ran a few live inspections on Facebook to enable sellers to see a property and ask questions before booking in a private inspection.

With sweeping changes to how agents navigate the market, it seems more properties are transacting off-market as well. 

“I met a young couple with a 2 month old baby called Charlie - I met them from a letterbox drop two weeks ago. They were curious about the value of their home and were actually thinking of selling,” said Mr Chokshi.

“I also had a buyer who had been underbidding and we’ve been sort of going back forth in the last 48 hours, and now it’s all been signed off. Listed and sold. The contract was finalised last night.”

Despite the current limitations of the market, the property went for a good price.

“They got the price they wanted. There’s been two sales in that particular building; one for $587,000 and for $575,000. This one property sold for higher than the other two sales, it sold for $591,000.”

“We did two private inspections. No photos, no advertising. Everything was done in less than a week.”

 

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