Buy a home

How can I buy a home during COVID-19?

Yes, you can still buy a home or an investment property.

Because of the COVID-19 restrictions, you should even get access to more information than ever to help you make the best decision. Most sellers will create virtual tours for their properties and offer live viewings, as it will become the norm.

If you find your dream home, or if you would like to know more about a property that retained your attention, get in touch with the real estate agent by email or on the phone to discuss the next steps.

How can I inspect a home I am interested in?

Virtual tours and videos are tools that more and more sellers will start using. These are perfect to give potential buyers a great insight into the home they are looking to purchase.

Most real estate agents will also organise live viewings. They will use video communication apps and software such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom, Facebook and Instagram live. Buyers will get the opportunity to ask the real estate agent to look at precise features in the property and have all their questions answered on the spot.

Facebook Live also offers the added bonus of being recorded. Replays will be available on the real estate agent’s Facebook page as soon as the live ends for people not available at the time of the inspection or wishing to have another look.

However, if you really wish to inspect the property in-person, most real agents will be able to offer one-on-one home inspection by appointment and group inspections. These private inspections will be conducted following all government social distancing and hygiene regulations.

How can I make an offer on a home I would like to buy?

If you wish to make an offer on a property or start negotiations with a seller, you can do it the exact same way you usually would. The only difference is that most activity during your buying journey will likely happen online and over the phone.

If you are unsure about how to proceed, or if you wish to get the ball rolling, simply get in touch with the real estate agent in charge of selling the property.

Is there a risk in buying a home only using online tools and resources?

No matter how you buy a home, you need to seek independent advice. However, even before the coronavirus outbreak, many people were purchasing properties sight unseen. The reasons were that they might have been interstate, overseas or simply unable to attend an open home before buying it.

These days, in a COVID-19 environment, the way you inspect a property has changed, but not the way you actually purchase it (even if this happens with an online auction). Indeed, what matters most when buying a home is making sure that the property is structurally sound and is all that it appears to be on the surface. Despite the lockdown, all the standard procedures and checks remain (such as pest and building reports). Home buyers in Clearwater

Can I still get a home loan in a COVID-19 environment?

Interest rates are at record lows and banks are still very eager to lend and secure quality borrowers. Moreover, they also have access to a $90 billion stimulus package from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

This makes getting a loan easy, as long as you have a secure job and a good credit history.

Should I wait after COVID-19 ends to buy a home?

Because of the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 environment, some buyers will hold off on deciding to purchase a property. Therefore, it could be a good time to look for a home or an investment property as competition from other buyers could be softer.

The coronavirus pandemic should also create opportunities to make better deals, as some homeowners will be forced to sell. These sellers can be people who might have already bought another property to live in or found another job elsewhere.

Just like it was the case before COVID-19, buyers can also benefit from interest rates at record lows. This means that if you are financially stable, now could be the best time to buy a home.

Sell My Home

Can I sell my home during COVID-19?

Yes, you can still sell your home or investment property no matter what state or territory it is located.

The rules to contain the spread of the coronavirus changed some of the ways we buy and sell real estate, but it is largely back to business as usual. Like most, the industry worked hard to adjust to the evolving requirements and now also offers most services online.

This means that if you need to meet with your local real estate agent, or if a buyer wishes to inspect a property in person before potentially making an offer, this can be organised in person or virtually. You will be able to request one-on-one appointments, during which all government social distancing and hygiene measures will be strictly applied.

No matter where the property you are selling is located, you still have the option to manage everything online if you prefer. You can get a virtual appraisal of your home, sign your documents electronically, conduct virtual tours and live viewings using video communication apps or software like FaceTime and Zoom, and sell your property by private treaty or online auction.

Are all the methods of sale still available to sell my property?

If you wish to list your home for sale, you will generally still have access to the three main methods of sale: by auction, by private treaty or by expression of interest (EOI).

If a public auction is being held outdoors or indoors, social distancing and strict hygiene protocols will be observed.

What are the best ways to promote my home for sale in this environment?

COVID-19 or not, online tools and resources should always make a big part of your marketing campaign.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to market your property as well as you would normally. On the contrary, you might even end up doing it better. Use all the resources available to you to create digital assets for your campaign: virtual tours, videos, floorplans, social media tiles, etc.

To promote them, think real estate portals such as, Domain or LJ Hooker, social media campaigns, email marketing. Word of mouth has not lost any of its efficiency, so call, text, or email your family, friends, neighbours, etc. As people are still allowed to get outside, a signboard in front of your property might also be useful.

As usual, your local real estate agent will be your best ally to guide you and create the best marketing campaign for your property.

How can I know how much my property is worth?

If you wish to sell your home but are unsure about its current value, the best way is to get an appraisal from your local real estate agent. It will give you a precise indication of how much your property is worth in the current market.

Appraisals can now be done virtually by using video communication apps and software such as FaceTime, Zoom or WhatsApp. They can also still be done in-person, as long as all the government social distancing and hygiene regulations are strictly respected.

If you would like a free expert property appraisal, get in touch today with your local LJ Hooker real estate agent. When possible, to make sure you feel safe and comfortable, we offer this service both in-person and virtually.

How will my real estate agent run home inspections with the COVID-19 restrictions in place?

If a buyer wishes to see the property in-person, then one-on-one private inspections or group inspections (with a maximum of 10 people from two households in Melbourne) are available. These inspections will be conducted following all government social distancing and hygiene regulations.

Virtual tours and videos can sometimes be enough to give potential buyers all the information they need about the property. Sell my house ASAP

Live viewings allow a more interactive experience, as they allow buyers to get immediate answers to all the questions they may have. The real estate agent will conduct these viewings using apps and software such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom or Facebook Live. Potentially, buyers will also be able to request private live viewings for a more personalised experience.

To sum up, your real estate agent will have four main options to run home inspections:

  • One-of-one private inspections by appointment
  • Group inspections
  • Virtual tours and videos
  • Live viewings (using an app like FaceTime or Zoom)

I’ve heard about online real estate auctions. How do they work and are they as efficient as “in-person” auctions?

Online real estate auctions, also called virtual real estate auctions, have been around for years. They work the same way as in-person auctions, but give buyers the opportunity to bid in the comfort of their own home (or wherever they may be as long as they have access to the Internet). LJ Hooker has held many successful online auctions, and we expect to see a continued upward trend.

As the seller, you will be able to log into the virtual auction platform to follow the interactive bidding happening in real-time. Every step of the way, you will know exactly what is going on.

Increasingly, buyers appear comfortable bidding behind a screen. This can be because technology has always been an integral part of their lifestyle, or because they feel like it minimises the pressure that an in-person auction would put on them.

At the end of the day, the success of an auction comes down to the agent gathering the bidders, the vendor and the stock.

As an example, LJ Hooker recently sold 22 Fowler Road, Merrylands (NSW). This property was auctioned virtually using the Auction Now platform. After 51 bids between 8 registered bidders online and via telephone, it finally sold for $1,251,000, which undoubtedly exceeded the owners’ expectations. The buyer had inspected the property via a virtual tour at 9.30pm the night before the auction.

Should I wait until after COVID-19 has passed to sell my home?

The real estate market is still very active. And, with less competition, there will always be opportunities for the sellers wishing to list or keep their home on the market.

Indeed, many potential buyers will be at home with time on their hands, connected to the Internet almost 24/7. They will have more time to spend looking at listings on real estate portals and websites. That means that if you do decide to sell, there will be a captive audience out there to view your property.

Moreover, thanks to interest rates at record lows, there will definitely be buyers looking to purchase a home or an investment property while there is also less competition for them.

In this new landscape, refining your selling strategy is an imperative to achieve the best outcome possible. Working on this with your real estate agent will allow you to stay ahead of the competition and cultivate the best decision-ready buyers.