Quick tips for buyers in COVID-19 market

Buyers are starting to modify their behaviour as open home inspections and onsite auctions have been suspended because of the coronavirus.

By Steve Lowe

Buyers are starting to modify their behaviour as open home inspections and onsite auctions have been suspended because of the coronavirus.

Personal, one-on-one inspections with an agent are permitted in most circumstances, but you can explore a few avenues before breaking out of your own lockdown regime.

Ask your real estate agent for the floorplan of the property you’re interested in. If you study it carefully, you will get a great sense of the flow of the building and how you might live in it.

You should also go on Google Earth and have a look at the surrounding area, as well as the properties owned by your prospective neighbours. The importance of location is still pivotal to the value of the property, and these sites are a great way for you to get a better sense of the area.

You should also ask the agent if there is a virtual walk-through or video available.

Of course, there’s no substitute for actually seeing the property yourself. Because of social distancing rules, the agent can take only one person through the home at a time. Unfortunately, it is against the rules for a couple to go inside while the agent waits on the footpath.

Be aware that coronavirus is highly contagious, so you should take great care to not touch anything while you are making your inspection. This ensures not only your safety but also the health of those who live in the property.

This may all seem quite dramatic, but lots of buyers are in the market and adhering to these social rules.

If you still like what you see, consider organising building and pest inspections. These are essential in normal times, but your contractors will be able to give you a real feel for the quality of the building.

While the volume of properties on the market has fallen, it continues to transact. In times when economic confidence is low, there are always excellent opportunities for the smart buyer.

So, you can learn a lot about a desirable property even while by minimising your contact with others.

Top tips at a glance:

Ask your agent for floorplans of properties that have attracted your interest.

Watch either a 3D, virtual walkthrough or video prepared for the property, or ask the agent to conduct a video call on an inspection app or platform such as FaceTime or WhatsApp, and walk you through the property.

Use sites such as Google Street View and Google Earth to research the local area, including the location of schools and proximity to transport.

Go to the local council website to learn more about amenities in the area.

Enhance your impression of property by commissioning pest and building inspections.

If you’re negotiating a private sale, make an offer and ask for first right of refusal – that means you’re protected if a higher bid comes in.

At an auction, which must be held online currently, make bids quickly and in the same or similar increments. This gives the impression that you’re in a strong position to purchase. If you edge the price up in bids of $1,000, others will sense you’re near your spending limit and push on.


| Buying | COVID-19 | Market