Okay. So as much as we’ve tried to block out the fear and toilet paper fights, it looks like we have to talk about it, and not for nothing either. When it comes to an industry as interpersonal as Real Estate, a rapidly-spreading virus, no matter how threatening, is obviously something to take note of. Shaking hands, hosting all manner of the public to home opens, attending opens yourself; it almost comes across as a list of the last things you should be doing! As it stands however, Australia is not in lockdown, industries haven’t shut down, and we’ve more or less been encouraged to carry on with our daily lives albeit with a few common-sense precautions…
There’s obviously no better way to explore a home than to see it in the flesh, but even if as a buyer, you’re ready and willing to do so in these strange times, there’s a good chance the seller feels differently towards letting a potentially large amount of people they’ve never met walk through their house, especially when you consider how many have an issue with it even without the threat of global pandemic!
Thankfully, living in 2020 does actually have its perks. Video packages and virtual tours of homes are as prevalent and easy to access as ever. While a buyer will certainly want to be physically present in a home before making an offer, and the listing may stay on the market for a little longer as result, utilising these technologies will certainly help in maintaining interest in these properties throughout the initial panic.
For those in the cautious but calm category, or those that simply don’t have the option to deny opens as they may need a fast sell, inviting in prospective buyers is still possible with the appropriate measures. Instead of having a set time on the weekend for swathes of people to enter a home, schedule viewings one at a time by appointment (just like the rich and famous!), or undertake screening of those looking to view the home. Ask where they’ve been, who they’ve been in contact with, and if they’ve experienced any symptoms.
Remember though, with fear comes added discrimination, and it goes without saying the Australian property market is no exception. If strict screening measures are to be put in place, they must remain consistent across all who are interested in the listing. Nobody is more or less threatening than another, and acting as such would also mean stepping into illegal territory with regards to discrimination laws.
Let’s face it, there’s really nothing like a firm handshake to conclude a deal and acknowledge a good bit of business. However, for the time being we may need to trust the intention of this centuries-old custom over the action itself. This is not just to protect agents, but also the more vulnerable, such as children of clients or the elderly. Besides, the elbow-bump is taking off now anyway!
Lastly, a few little additions to put the mind at ease can be a huge help. Hand sanitiser on entry does wonders in a situation like this without being too confronting, while facial and respiratory protection should be available to those who feel more comfortable with it available to them. While these measures may not seem necessary to many, they could very well be necessary to the person whose most likely to make an offer!