Time for on-line window-shopping
by Neil Jenman
Reading time: 3.5 mins
Cooper is 21-years-old. Last Saturday he bought his first home – an apartment in the North-western Sydney suburb of Kellyville. His parents are so proud. To have saved $70,000 for a deposit is a grand achievement for any young man.
As with most home-buyers today – especially young first-timers – plenty of sacrifice went into that purchase. While his mates were out drinking, Cooper must have stayed home saving.
Well done, Cooper.
Now you must pay it off. But the feeling of home-ownership (or home-loanership as it is for most people for many years) is worth the sacrifice.
But how did he manage to inspect a property during the harsh lockdowns? Surely, ‘stay at home’ doesn’t mean ‘go-find-a-home’?
Well, in some cases it does. In New South Wales, according to agents, they can still show one person at a time through a home. With masks, of course.
Cooper first. Then his Mum. Then his Dad.
One, two, three – that’s how you can still buy a home in New South Wales.
What about selling a home?
Well, apparently the agent can still come into your home, have a look around and ask you to sign a listing agreement. Masked-up, of course.
Each state or territory comes under its own government edicts.
Victoria seems to be the harshest of all. Stay-at-home means stay at home. Even if a home is empty, agents are not allowed to show it to buyers. Stay home agents.
Each state or territory has its lockdown rules on the relevant state government websites – usually the Fair Trading or Consumers Affairs Departments. Check those in your state.
But, of course, there are your own personal rules. Or standards.
According to medical experts, the main way this virus is transmitted is from person-to-person contact.
Therefore, if you don’t go near anyone, you should avoid getting infected.
In our home, my wife is super strict. She wouldn’t be going anywhere now in the so-called hot-spot areas. And she would certainly be nervous about strangers in her home.
Hers is the attitude of many home-sellers and buyers right now. Do nothing and sit it out – and hope “the spread” slows down, restrictions are lifted and, most important, your area is safe.
One thing’s for sure, though: Once the lockdowns are over, there will be a rush (not necessarily a boom but a “rush”). Thousands more sellers will put their homes on the market and thousands more buyers will start looking. If that happens, it’s going to be hard to find an agent to talk with you, especially if you’re a buyer. Agents always make themselves available for sellers (before the sellers sign-up, that is).
So, right now, during the lockdown, it’s a great time to look for a good agent – and check out what’s available. If you find something (or someone) you like, you can use video conferencing.
You can still inspect homes by video-tour. If you want to show an agent around your home without the agent coming into your home, grab your phone and take them on a video-tour.
If you are locked down at home – or you don’t want to be near other people – this is a great time to go property ‘window-shopping’ on-line and to do much needed research.
It’s always better to deal with a hard-working agent – whether you’re selling or buying. One of the best ways to find the best agents in any area has always been to call their offices at 5:30 pm. The best ones are still working. The worst down tools at 5.
The same applies now.
In this lockdown, the worst agents are on the couch watching Netflix – or under the sheets moaning about the world (and sprouting conspiracy theories).
But the best agents are the ‘can-do’ types. The ones who – like Hannibal with his elephants crossing the Alps – will be saying: “We will find a way or make a way”.
Or, as the United States President (FDR) said shortly after the Pearl Harbour attacks when sailors were trapped alive in the wreck of the Arizona, and he was told they “Could not” be rescued: “Don’t tell me it can’t be done.”
There are many great examples in our history (remember Thredbo, the Newcastle earthquakes, the Granville Train Disaster and, more recently, the horrific bushfires) – when we overcame obstacles, when we rose to the challenge, when we came together in spirit and comradery. It’s sad to see people cranky and pointing blame in this crisis, especially at those doing their best to help us. If there has ever been a time for kindness and caring, surely this is it.
A few weeks ago, I said that ‘lockdown-time’ is a great time to learn. I am happy to send one or more of our real estate books to anyone who’s interested in selling or buying or investing.
We can do so much from our homes these days. Let’s grab the chance, surely.
Last year, in the darkest days of the lockdown, the entire team at one real estate agency in Melbourne rolled up their sleeves and worked as hard as they had ever worked.
As crazy as this seems, they achieved record results during the lockdown. And many sellers and buyers got great results too. If you don’t try, you can’t succeed – and that applies if you’re an agent or a buyer or seller.
Yesterday, the owner of the agency contacted me. She and her team are doing the same thing again this year. If it works once, it will work twice.
And get this: They have figured out how people can buy and sell homes without physical inspections. In short, if the property is not as represented on-line, the buyers can cancel the sale (provided the grievance is legitimate).
If you are interested, let us know – and we will put you in touch with them.
So, don’t wait for the lockdowns to be over before making your first move. You can start now. The agents who are shut now are the ones who have disqualified themselves. They are likely the ‘can’t-do’ types.
The ones who are eager to speak with you now are likely to be the can-do types.
Far better to be looking now – before crowds come back. And yes, in many cases that is better for both buyers and sellers.
There is one time, however, when it is never good to sell: If you are facing financial hardship. So many people are suffering now with lower or no incomes. If this is you – and you are thinking of selling your home – please try and find a way to keep your home.
Sure, it’s hard to look on the bright side if your world seems to be crashing around you. But remember those words, “Don’t tell me it can’t be done!”
At the very least, give it a try. We will happily give you some suggestions.
No matter what your situation, when it comes to real estate, this lockdown presents more opportunities than you perhaps realised.
Hop on-line and get started. As is often said, “What have you got to lose?”
Shake off the doldrums and get excited about your future.
Remember those four great words that apply to all situations: This too shall pass.
Most of all, of course: Be safe.
And let’s never lose our sense of fun, please.
A favourite T-shirt selling well now has these words emblazoned of the front:
“When this lockdown is over, I still want some people to stay away from me.” 😊
If you’d like to see the inspiring FDR clip, here it is…
If you need help to sell, please email email@example.com. No cost or obligation.
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But one thing will never vary: We will never stop doing what we love most – helping polite and honest consumers get the best deal possible in real estate. And, of course, if any agents are serious about taking care of consumers, we’ll help you too. Thank you.