The Ray White Group, along with all major real estate brands, is set to lobby the Federal Government in order for its national members to be deemed an “essential service”, the same as the financial services industry, in a bid to prevent a catastrophic fallout in the property sector.
Ray White Group Managing Director Dan White said the property market was one of the foundational cornerstones of the economy and any risk to its daily trading would see wide-sweeping uncertainty among Australians.
“Despite some media reports to the contrary, the property market is continuing to yield high clearance rates and it’s clear that many Australians still have a strong need to buy and sell property, regardless of the current situation,” he said.
“We know our members have already changed their processes to create a safe environment for their customers. We have adapted very quickly to the new physical distancing requirements and we use technology to show, and then sell, properties without the need for physical contact.
“Our tenants need to know they can still talk to us, that we’ll still be working for them even when we may be doing so remotely.
“There are thousands of pending property sales from the past few weeks alone where buyers and sellers have exchanged contracts but are yet to settle – these sales will require the services of real estate professionals in order to be finalised.
“If this support cannot be provided due to the lockdown, both parties to the contract will effectively be left in limbo and unable to finalise their transaction.
“This is outside the clear and significant need of the millions of residential and commercial tenants who will also need support during this time, whether it be for routine maintenance requests or for the more serious matters that will result from widespread financial hardship.
“We urge the Federal Government to deem the industry as essential to the livelihood of the country. We need to be able to continue to provide the orderly completion of sales and purchases as well as property management, all of which will bode well for national confidence and lessen the shock to the economy
“Rental properties need to be managed and maintained so our tenants have shelter and can maintain good health standards.
“Our position is that we would suggest that essential services should include any services required to facilitate property transactions (including relocation services and cleaning) limited to the allocated number of people at any one time in a certain sized room.
“Similarly we believe any services required to maintain housing and shelter, including property maintenance and transactions, utilities connection and maintenance be limited to the set number of people at any one time.”
Ray White has now moved its entire network of 1000 offices to hold “private auctions” instead of in-room or in-office events and has already taken significant steps to change processes in order to ensure the safety of both their people and clients.
These include but are not limited to:
- Enforcing strict physical distancing. (ie. the 1.5m, and 4m2 rule.)
- Ensuring hand sanitisers are available at all times.
- Enforcing a “no touch” policy.
Inspecting Property – Property management and Sales
- Encouraging our customers to undertake first inspections remotely, by the use of Facebook Live, Facetime, or other digital platforms.
- Ensuring inspections are made by private appointment rather than via open homes, with appropriate distancing between individuals.
Property management – ongoing tenancy issues
- Suspending all routine inspections until further advised.
- Ensuring tradespeople attending for routine maintenance are properly vetted and adhere to requirements around tenant safety, including wearing gloves and maintaining social distancing.
- Assisting with the processing of any government assistance for tenants and landlord
For the remainder of the week ending 28 March 2020:
- Advertising auctions as “Private Auctions”, with attendance at the auction by registration only. If an auction is to be conducted indoors on the same day or evening as other properties are also being auctioned, each individual auction must be given a precise time and duration with appropriate crowd management.
- Encouraging customers to bid remotely via technology rather than attending in person, providing them with access to digital technology such as Real Time Agent, Auction Now, Gavl, Auction Live, or Facebook Live. Alternatively, phone bidding is also available.
From 28 March 2020 onwards:
- Private Auctions will be undertaken without bidders or other members of the community present. All registrations and bidding will be done online or over the phone.