Private inspections back on in Victoria

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria is among the many groups welcoming today’s announcement by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews that private inspections for purchase or leasing of properties, can recommence from 11:59 pm Sunday, 27 September, 2020.

“This is great news for Victorians and should be seen as a positive and encouraging step towards a return to ‘normal,” REIV CEO Gil King said.

Relaxing of the restrictions that have stopped Victorians buying, selling or leasing their property will see a slow and gradual return to real estate transactions in Melbourne. 

The REIV believes this will be an enormous relief to buyers, sellers and renters alike, many of whom have been suffering severe financial and emotional stress over the past few weeks.

Over the past few weeks the REIV has highlighted to government the impact that the ban on inspections has had on the property market, including reduced numbers of auctions – down by over 80 per cent compared to recent years.

And, while virtual auctions and inspections have been permitted, buyers and tenants have been reluctant to purchase or lease a property sight unseen.

The REIV thanked the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Melissa Horne, who they say took the industry’s feedback on-board and played an instrumental role in developing a re-opening strategy.

Real estate agents will now be able to conduct inspections by private appointment with further details regarding the second step still to come.

While we await further details regarding the Second Step, REIV Members are prepared with all safety measures in place to ensure the market can resume in a safe and efficient manner. 

REIV President Leah Calnan said it was encouraging to see the plight of many Victorians unable to make property decisions has been reconsidered by the Government.

“This decision is recognition that the real estate profession can be trusted to conduct inspections in a safe and responsible manner. We have done so previously, and will continue to do so for the benefit of all Victorians,” Ms Calnan said.

An important step forward – REIA

REIA President Adrian Kelly said the easing of restrictions signalled an important step forward for Victoria’s property industry, the stakeholders of which had been forced to make unprecedented sacrifices across the past few weeks.

“We commend the Victorian state government for getting the real estate sector back on a path towards normality,” he said.

“Our thoughts have been with the buyers, sellers and agents who have had their lives and livelihoods disrupted as a result of the ban on inspections.

“The REIA encourages Victorians to get in contact with their agent for property-related enquiries they may have in the wake of this development.

“We look forward to hearing the plans for the industrial and commercial sectors.”

A win for real estate as an industry – Ray White

Ray White Group Managing Director Dan White applauded the announcement and said it was a win for buyers, vendors, tenants, landlords, and real estate as an industry.

“There’s no doubt our members and customers have been in pain in recent times. We’ve heard a number of heart-wrenching stories and this announcement from the Andrews Government will provide hope to many families in distress,” Mr White said.

“We know from other states and New Zealand that private one-on-one inspections can be successfully conducted in a highly-controlled setting.

“Private inspections are all pre-scheduled, where only a single buyer or tenant interact with a single agent, while still being able to properly observe social distancing and enact effective transmission mitigation (i.e. sanitisation of surfaces and the use of masks).”

Ray White Victoria and Tasmania CEO Stephen Dullens said for thousands of people around metropolitan Melbourne, the announcement was nothing short of a lifeline.

“Today’s announcement will be welcomed by thousands of our customers – particularly those experiencing significant hardship at this time,” Mr Dullens said.

“We feel this outcome recognises the genuine needs of Victorians to transact, while also keeping the safety of the community as the highest priority.

“This is a needs-based market. Shelter is a basic human need – many people simply have no choice but to move for various reasons and do not have the luxury of waiting for restrictions to ease – this will provide a light at the end of the tunnel for so many.

“Private inspections will enable the industry to safely serve their customers and ensure that what’s often the most important financial transaction of their lifetimes can be undertaken without further delays, in a safe environment.

“Our members are well trained and well versed on how to operate in a COVID-safe environment. We’ve been planning this for weeks and are looking forward to servicing our valued clients in a safe and effective way.

“We also take this opportunity to thank the Victorian Government for working proactively with the Ray White Group and other members of the real estate industry in recent weeks – the opportunity for engagement and collaboration has certainly been welcomed.”

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Samantha McLean

Samantha McLean is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of Elite Agent and Host of the Elevate Podcast.