REAL estate agents are turning to digital innovations to sell properties after the Real Estate Institute of Australia called for all open house inspections and public auctions to cease, to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Following the national cabinet meeting late last night, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a ban on open house inspections and auctions.
REIA president Adrian Kelly said all real estate agents across Australia need to make significant changes to the way they conduct their business particularly because past practice with open homes and public auctions needs to cease.
“We need to take the covid-19 virus seriously. The deliberate organising of a gathering of people by a real estate agent flies in the face of the directives of the prime minister. To continue to arrange unmodified public open homes and auctions is clearly irresponsible.
“Whilst we obviously recognise the impact to trading this will have, it is important that the entire industry pulls together and supports the government in their efforts at this time to limit the spread of covid-19,”
Kelly said one on one private inspections by appointment must become the norm coupled with the appropriate safeguards as recommended by health authorities.
“With regard to public auctions, these can still occur via telephone bidding or by using one of the many online auction platforms available. We need to show some initiative and resourcefulness at this time.
“As an industry, we are all in this predicament together and the sooner we all do what needs to be done, the sooner we can return to a more normal real estate market.” Kelly said.
Meanwhile as social distancing becomes the new norm, digital agency Upside Realty is already enabling Australians to buy and sell property almost completely remotely.
The agency has setup digital contracts and communication between home-based real estate agents through cloud-based technology to minimise contact between property buyers and sellers.
Upside Realty CEO and founder Adam Rigby 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.
“Our local agents have been working from home from day one – we don’t have bricks and mortar offices.
“We are now providing the option for our buyers and sellers to communicate virtually with their agents over digital devices for any real estate services they require,” he added.
Real estate agent Gee Adams said working remotely has allowed her to be more efficient and to better serve her clients.
“The technology is a game changer – everything that we do as agents has been designed to make our jobs easier. With less down time it also enables us to help more clients.
“I’m finding that I am much more productive. Unlike the traditional offices that I am used to, there are no distractions, I don’t have to compete for the marketing assistant or designated sales support with other agents. Our CX team also offers ‘round the clock’ support.” Adams said.