Sell with Confidence
Read More

Coronavirus: How COVID-19 affects the housing market?

By Debbie O'Connor

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted upon almost every industry including real estate.

State and federal governments have introduced necessary restrictions to stop the spread of the virus. But the property market continues to operate, with the safety and health of all persons involved the paramount concern.

Below, we answer your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on what the coronavirus crisis means for sellers, buyers, renters and landlords.

Can I still sell my home?

Yes. Sellers’ agents, buyers agents and the rest of the market have adapted to the new restrictions. Virtual tours of homes, private inspections and online auctions are now the norm. Sellers can still sell via private sale too, as always.

What does the ban on ‘on-site’ auctions or ‘in-room auctions’ mean?

Auctions will continue to be held online. Prospective buyers can continue to register and bid online. Only ‘in-person’ auctions have been suspended due to social distancing rules.

Can I still inspect a home I am interested in?

Yes. You can arrange a virtual inspection with us which will allow buyers and sellers to remain in business. Buyers can inspect a home virtually and then if they wish to visit a property in person, they can arrange a private visit through the selling agent.

How do virtual or digital inspections work?

Virtual inspections allow real estate agents to use videos – either shot professionally or via smartphone walk-throughs – which is available to buyers. Please call our office to arrange a virtual inspection.

Will showing my house increase my family’s chances of contracting coronavirus?

The government says as long as we follow all the rules and guidelines, such as social distancing and hygiene, it is safe to proceed with private open home inspections.

What if I can’t make my mortgage repayments?

Most banks are allowing customers to pause their loan repayments for up to six months if they are experiencing financial hardship. Contact your broker to discuss this.

What if I can’t pay my rent?

If you think you might not be able to pay your rent due to financial hardship, you should advise your landlord or rental agency as soon as possible. You can request a delayed payment or a rent reduction.

Is there a ban on tenant evictions?

State and territory leaders have agreed to a six-month moratorium on evictions for commercial and residential tenancies in financial distress who couldn’t meet their commitments due to the COVID-19 crisis.

How will COVID-19 impact the property market?

Like most industries and situations at the moment the short-term impact is unclear. However most experts expect market conditions to return to their pre-COVID-19 activity once concerns over the virus have passed.

Can I still hire a removalist?

Yes. As removalists are considered an essential service they are still operating, although most moving companies have changed the way they do business to comply with social distancing measures. Many removals businesses have included coronavirus updates on their websites, with one big change being the “no-contact” move where homeowners are now largely restricted from “helping out” on moving day.

Can I move interstate during this time?

Movement between the states is largely restricted at the moment, but removalists and residents (plus potential residents) can apply for a pass to cross over the border. On arrival, however, most individuals are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Rules are continuing to change almost on a daily basis, so to fully understand what is expected of you check in with your moving company.

Moving home is possible during the COVID-19 crisis but rules and restrictions need to be observed.

Will I be able to have renovations or repairs done?

Hiring tradies to do work around the home is not currently restricted under the Federal and State governments’ COVID-19-related protection measures. Be aware that they are not mandatory so ensure you’re practising safe hygiene and social-distancing.

Can I keep building a house that’s already begun?

Yes you can, but the worksite environment has changed. The Australian Workers Union and Master Builders Australia are calling on governments to keep the building and construction industry open for business, however each company is setting up their own safe work practices. Many builders are continuing existing builds while adopting rigorous distance and safety measures onsite. Homeowners, however, should be prepared for possible delays with materials or reduced staff. House and land estates are operating, but can only show display homes by private appointment.

Is it wise to buy a property sight unseen?

It’s not unheard of, but it is extremely rare that buyers purchase property without ever setting foot through the door. Those cases when it has happened, it’s often a cashed-up investor who has crunched the numbers, has had professional pest and building inspectors or their financial advisor do a walk-through and they never plan to live at the address. Most real estate experts don’t recommend a homebuyer taking this route, because nothing beats the real thing.

Need to discuss your next purchase? Talk to us today