As we emerge from lockdowns and self-imposed enforce isolation, Zoom-based meetings and working from home have affected our lives in strange and unexpected ways.
And, according to this story in Domain by Sue Williams, that includes how we buy property, with potential purchasers prepared to trust what they see on their computer screens as much as they do with the naked eye.
And in an industry that has seen sales steadily decline since the coronavirus epidemic first hit, one growth area seems to be online inspections.
“We sold $33.5 millions worth in the three months since April,” said Adrian Reed of Noosa’s Reed & Co Estate Agents.
“People are getting more used to being given information in a virtual environment, and have embraced video-conferencing and all the technology they now have. I think as a way of buying property, this is here to stay.”
Drone footage offering a bird’s eye view of a home, as well as virtual tours, live streaming of walk-throughs, a huge volume of photos and online building and pest inspection reports are now giving potential purchasers unprecedented ways of appraising property.
“It means suddenly people are feeling much more confident about judging, sight unseen, whether a home is right for them,” said Brian White, joint chairman of Ray White Group. “Some were prepared to buy before like that, but only if the property was a bargain.
“Now people are prepared to be competitive in pricing, knowing they have to compete with others buying the same way. And I think the fact that, so far, we haven’t heard of any bad experiences or misrepresentation is encouraging people and they’re thinking afterwards that thank God they were prepared to take the chance!”
Because of Queensland’s closed borders, many virtual sales have been conducted there by Sydneysiders, Melburnians, expats and overseas purchasers.
Andrew Bell, chief executive of the Ray White Surfers Paradise Group, sold nine properties worth a total of $4.5 million on one weekend six weeks ago without a single physical viewing. Four buyers were from Victoria, three from NSW, one from the ACT and one from South Australia.
His biggest sight-unseen sale so far was a $2.9 million home in Sanctuary Cove.
“It’s now a daily event,” he said. “COVID means people now no longer feel silly doing it as they’re getting more in tune with this way of buying and they’ll be more comfortable doing it even post-COVID.
“It’s a great way of doing research and maybe in the future people will use it to narrow the field down to, say, two properties that then they might inspect.”
You can read Sue’s full story HERE.