Is This a Good Time to Buy or Sell a Home? – Covid 19 and Real Estate

Eriks Draiska
Published on April 1, 2020

Is This a Good Time to Buy or Sell a Home? – Covid 19 and Real Estate

Social distancing. Self-isolation and quarantine. Hand sanitizer. Soap & water and elbow-bumping instead of shaking hands.

COVID-19 has Changed Our Lives, Business & Real Estate

In our efforts to deal with a world-wide pandemic, not only are our priorities changing, but our actions and vocabulary as well.

There were progressive warnings and it still naturally caught many by surprise. We’re getting a lot of questions from our clients, worried about whether or not they should continue to settle on their transactions, continue searching for another home or look for a buyer for their current home.

We’ve answered many of these below.

We aren’t medical experts, so we can’t field medical questions. But we are real estate experts and are happy to offer our opinion of what is happening in the housing market and what experts expect in the coming weeks and months.

This post is updated from time-to-time and if you are in an affiliated industry with relevant information to add, please contact me directly.

We’re available on 08 83961100 to answer
any questions that you have.

The way Australians buy and sell their homes changed overnight in how open inspections are held and how auctions are conducted.

Uncertainty Reigns

While there are plenty of rumors and much guessing from the experts as to how the Australian and world economy will be impacted by the safety measures federal and state governments are enacting, nobody is certain.

The current situation is a productivity crisis with less people employed rather than a Financial Crisis, like the GFC – Global Financial Crisis was.

We agree with those who claim that it all centres on how long the virus takes to get under control. The longer Australians are out of work, the longer retailers and other businesses remain closed, the bigger the impact on the economy.

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison and cabinet continue to work on stimulus packages for both individual taxpayers and businesses.

He also banned group onsite auctions, in-room auctions and open homes from midnight 25th March 2020 as part of measures to flatten the COVID19 curve.

However, there are many Other Methods to Sell Your Home or Investrment amd you can find these below.

As social distancing to become the norm nationwide, these changes will impact on buyers and sellers and likely slow down the time taken as everyone adjusts to the changing situation.

Be mindful that rules  & regulations can change daily in response to the outbreak.

Let’s stay calm and keep everything in perspective…

What are the Changes?

In Summary, Agents Cannot

  • Hold In-Room or On-Site Property Auctions
  • Hold Open Inspections

Agents Can

  • Hold Personal & Private Property Inspections
  • Sell Homes by Private Treaty and Other Methods
  • Host Virtual Property Tours
  • Hold Digital Auctions
  • Accept Online and Telephone Bids

These of course still include sensible Social Distancing rules.

You Can Still Buy and Sell Your Property & We WILL Help You!

Will our Deal Settle?

If you have already signed a Contract, as a buyer or a seller, lenders are taking extra steps to help speed up the process.

The Lands Title Office, whilst the Settlements Room was closed physically as of 30’th March, allows Conveyancers and Financiers to use the atrium and closed offices for hard-copy physical document settlements.

These measures ensure the safety of customers and staff by adopting the necessary social distancing protocols. 

The majority of settlements, over 70% are now done online using PEXA, Property Exchange Australia and Simpli Electronic Lodgment Networks (ELN). They are national online systems providing for preparation of electronic dealings and verification of lodgment acceptability.

Brendon Pike CEO of Land Services SA also stated that both have have indicated they are resourced to expedite the registration of new clients which is a great support to the property industry.

Land Services SA continues to provide a high level of service and at this time our services continue with dealing lodgement channels remaining unchanged.

Land Services SA continues to receive lodgements:
• Drop & Go on the Ground Floor at 101 Grenfell Street Adelaid
• Face-to-Face on the Ground Floor at 101 Grenfell Street Adelaide (but we do ask that this service is used only when absolutely necessary)
• Postal Lodgement at GPO Box 543, Adelaide SA 5001
• Electronically via an Electronic Lodgement Network Operator (PEXA or Sympli).

“We expect that COVID-19 will see a slowing in the market but at this stage we’re unable to forecast what that will look like.  Like the rest of the industry, we are watching indicators very closely”

New Builds

“Newly constructed homes are generally still proceeding as builders are working within government guidelines regards hygiene and social distancing. Responsible practices have been implemented including builders sending only one trade on site at any time.

Display homes are open for inspection by appointment.” says Stephen Knight Executive Director of the HIA – Housing Industry Association.

Theses statements are echoed by Will Frogley, Director, Policy and Communications for Master Builders Associatioon SA who says –

“It’s crucial for South Australia’s economy that building and construction remains operational. Master Builders has urged our members to think about social distancing risks and act to reduce those risks. Every business needs to practice basic social distancing techniques. Basic safety protocols must be in place.”

“How many people work on a site should be based on a risk assessment that takes into account all the latest government requirements. It is extremely important that regular safety inspections and audits are conducted with a focus on COVID-19 controls and principals. In some sites, people are being asked to take a “touch it- clean it’ approach. This involves a direction that any equipment or commonly touched items or surfaces are regularly cleaned and disinfected.

“Regarding display homes, we are advising members to book one-on-one appointments with clients in advance. As well as ensuring hygiene standards are high, a risk assessment on the client should be conducted, for example asking them about their recent travel.”

Is This an Ok Time to Buy a Home?

Within the real estate industry there’s a well-known saying that the best time to buy a home is when you can afford to buy a home.

Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows. Borrowing money has rarely been so inexpensive.

When rates are higher you won’t get nearly the size or type of home you can right now.

If you’re worried about exposure while house hunting, understand that touring homes for sale is a bit different now but still quite doable. Much of the process can be done online via virtual open houses, online home tours, floor plan drawings and more.

Even in-person tours can be accomplished in a safe, healthy way.

If you are a buyer looking for a home and want advice, call us  08 83961100.

What About Selling? Is This an Ok Time?

There will always be people who need to buy and sell property and we’ll be here to help them.

There are buyers in the market who are still searching for property and have the advantage of low interest rates, so if you need to sell, by all means, let’s get that home on the market.

As anticipated across the board, buyer activity has lessened, particularly amongst First Home Buyers and Investors where enquiry has dropped off.

This will impact pricing, though to what degree is unknown at this time.

The governments stimulus packages and rulings will assist people holding on to their homes and not have major re-possessions or mortgagee sales which would impact prices if that were to happen.

As mentioned in the buying section, above, we can employ a number of methods to keep your home and your family safe during and after showings.

Excellent Marketing & Technology will be a big part of supporting these changes. Underlying all this though is the priority to make sure you and us stay safe and healthy.

We’ve adapted our methodology to ensure this happens.

Remember, the inventory of available homes is still quite low, so you will have little competition for homebuyers’ attention. We’re even seeing bidding wars still happening, across the country.

If the home is in good condition and priced well, it will sell.

You can feel comfortable having us as your resource to lead, guide and protect you and your home during all times and especially times like this.

Is it Safe to Show My House?

The government says as long as Recommended Methods, such as social distancing and hygiene, are practiced, it is safe to proceed with private viewings.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions or concerns.

If you are considering a move, call 08 83961100 or book a Skype call at any time to discover how this may effect you.

We’re happy to help.

What About Appraisals?

These can still happen for the time being. (Unless a lockdown is called.)

An agent can come out to see you, just do not shake hands and stay the recommended distance away from each other.

Your Options are…

  1. Get an Online e-Valuation which will give you an Automated Valuation Report. Thse are a great starting point to give you a general idea of your property’s worth.
  2. Book a Free Consultation where an agent will arrange a mutually convenient time to meet with you
    Schedule a Call
    Fill out the Form at the bottom of this page
    Text CallMe to 0418804900 and we WILL call you back
    or simply call 08 83961100.
  3. Arrange a Virtual Appraisal! Call 08 83961100 to find out how.

What Do You Recommend That I Do?

If You Need to Buy or Sell Property?

Call  08 83961100 today and we will guide you through.

If You Are Not Ready or Are Not in a Hurry?

Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Besides staying safe and looking after yourself and your family, this is a great time to build on the personal and business relationships you have or establish new ones.

One of the things I am doing is writing letters and cards to people whether I know them well or not as well as phoning and talking to people to build-on, rebuild and begin new relationships.

We are ALL in this together.

If you do not have family or friends that call you, you can call me on 08 83961100.

It is also a great time to update your property including your house as well as the garden, in readiness of a future sale or simply get your home looking at its best to continue living there.

I get that everyones finances will be different at this time but there are a lot of no-cost or low-cost things you can do to get your home looking at its best.

Whilst sitting at home watching television or Netflix is relaxing it will not give you a pay-off as investing time and energy in improving your home and many of these things are possible to involve the whole family and bring everyone together for a common purpose.

Can We Do Renovations, Repairs & Maintenance?

Of course, and it’s probably a good idea given you may have time on your hands and the weather is still favourable for outdoor work such as painting, gardening and such.

Also if necessary, hiring tradespeople to do work around the home is not currently restricted. Here are some guidelines to follow if hiring people.

Here are a few articles we’ve written earlier and I trust you find them helpful even if you plan on never moving.

Of course if you need to go out to buy anything, stay safe.

Let me know what you think of them.

Critical Winter Home Staging Tips

Critical Winter Home Staging Tips

Don’t Wait until spring! There’s plenty to clean right now

Don’t Wait until spring! There’s plenty to clean right now

DIY Staging Tips That Won’t Break the Bank

DIY Staging Tips That Won’t Break the Bank

5 Steps to Downsizing Your Home

5 Steps to Downsizing Your Home

5 Tips for the Best Home Showings

5 Tips for the Best Home Showings

10 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Buyer Inspections

10 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Buyer Inspections

Tips to Get Rid of Kitchen Clutter

Tips to Get Rid of Kitchen Clutter

Tips to Help You Paint Like a Pro

Tips to Help You Paint Like a Pro

We’re available on 08 83961100 to answer
any questions that you have.

Can I Still Use a Moving Company?

Yes. removalists are considered an essential service  as they form part iof the transport and logistics industry and are still operating. They must comply with social distancing measures including ‘no-contact’ rules. You’ll find coronavirus updates on their websites.

Can I Move Interstate?

Movement between the states is largely restricted, but removalists and residents can apply for a pass to cross over the border. On arrival, however, most individuals are required to self-isolate for 14 days.

Rules change almost on a daily basis. Check the Interstate Quarantine Regulations.

What Do I Do If I Can’t Pay My Mortgage?

Most banks are allowing customers to pause their loan repayments for up to six months if they are experiencing financial hardship. Contact your broker to discuss this.

You may be eligible for the Government’s Stimulus Package.

For free financial advice, contact the National Debt Helpline.

What Do I Do If I Can’t Pay My Rent?

If you think you might not be able to pay your rent due to financial hardship, you should advise your landlord or rental agency as soon as possible. You can request a delayed payment or a rent reduction

You may be eligible for the Government’s Stimulus Package.

For free financial advice, contact the National Debt Helpline.

I’m Really Anxious About All This, What Can I Do?

I get it, I care, I’m here for you and I’ll help you through it.

However, if you need professional support & advocacy, click our Links of Interest page and scroll most of the way down to find services that have will provide support for you…

You Are NOT Alone.

Can I See What a Virtual Tour Looks Like?

Yes certainly, there are many variations of these.

Here is a Sample Virtual Tour of one of them.

Is It Necessary to Have a Virtual Tour if I Am Selling?

Well, actually no.

Whilst the virtual tour adds to the flavour of selling a home, we’ve found that taking numerous good quality photographs which show all aspects of the property including the less than perfect areas, along with great marketing and copywriting shows buyers enough information to be interested or not.

What are the Other Methods of Sale?

There are 9 Different Ones…

The most common method of sale is by a private treaty which accounts for around 70-90% of real estate transactions.

Others are an auction, set sale, tender, expressions of interest, price on application and a low-key sale. Private sale has a better alternative called the partner program.

# 1 – Private Treaty
A sale by private treaty means you offer the property to the market at a listed price or a price range and invite offers from interested purchasers. This way you have the ability to vary the price whilst it is on the market and you will also have the opportunity to consider each individual offer from potential purchasers.

In South Australia, you can offer a single fixed asking price, a price range of up to 10% or no price given. Other variables or different wording such as Offers from $, Offers Over $, are no longer allowed.

You can accept cash unconditional offers, subject to finance and/ or sale conditions or additionally acceptable contingencies.

# 2 – Auction
You set a reserve price with your agent (the minimum price you will sell your property for) and the agent prepares for the auction on the specified date and time. There are laws for conducting an auction, so it is best left to an experienced auctioneer on the day. If bids don’t reach your reserve price, your agent may negotiate with the highest bidder on your behalf.

Auctions can induce a sense of urgency and strong competition amongst buyers, however, the stress of an auction can also put some buyers off.

Only buyers who have unconditional offers as cash or pre-arranged finance can register and bid. Those who need to sell and/ or require subject-to-finance or other conditions cannot bid.

Those who need to sell their property to buy yours and/ or require subject-to-finance or other conditions cannot bid.

There is no cooling-off period.

There are no public or in-room auctions allowed where people congregate, so online or phone bidding is encouraged.

# 3 – Set Sale
Combines private treaty, price range selling with the intensity of an auction campaign and allows subject-to-conditions into the mix.

As the name suggests a date 25 days after the marketing begins is the targeted endpoint or deadline to have all offers and registrations of interest presented for the seller’s consideration.

If the vendor receives an acceptable offer at any time during the marketing campaign, all registered buyers are contacted. They have 24 hours to the close of business the following day to submit their best and final offer.

An additional advantage is that unlike auction, your price is never publicly disclosed. Any offers are not disclosed to other buyers.

Here are some more specific details on how the set sale works.

# 4 – Tender
A tender is a formal sale process often used for commercial & industrial properties. Though seldom used in residential sales. It requires potential buyers to submit a proposal in response to the request to the owner’s advertised tender.

There is usually a time limit imposed when the purchasers highest & best offer must be made. There is usually no further negotiation.

# 5 – Expressions Of Interest
An expression of interest is similar to a private treaty sale, however, a formal written offer must be submitted for the property usually by a specific date. This process is also seldom used for residential.

A variation is where no price is given and buyers are encouraged to make offers. Unlike an auction, it is less stressful and allows for subject-to-conditions being made.

It can especially suit unusual property or where there a few comparable sales. It certainly has a place to be used for residential properties in these circumstances.

# 6 – Price On Application  – (POA) – A property listed with a sale price of “POA” means buyers will need to contact the agent to receive pricing details. This is not often recommended as it annoys purchasers and many simply won’t call. It reduces the number of interested buyers significantly.

# 7 – Low-Key Sale
Although a competitive marketing and sales process is normally the best way to achieve the highest price for your property. Sometimes, there are good reasons to sell your home without opening it up to the market. You can read the Low-Key Sale Blog Here. 

In the current situation with Covid-19, Low-Key is an excellent alternative as it works well within the restrictions imposed on all of us.

Let us know if this is of interest and we’ll get you started and take photographs to show prospective buyers.

Tell Me More About Low-Key Sales.

These have also been called various names depending on the company wishing to brand itself.

We’ve seen them called Off-Market Sales, Pre-Market Listings, Registered Buyers Only, Quiet Listing, Discrete Sale, The Vault, By-Appointment Only, Targeted Marketing, Pocket Listings, Buyers Advantage, Whisper Listings, Silent Listing, Stealth Marketing and Secret Sale.


No doubt there are other terminologies, however, they do NOT all mean the same thing… A Low Key Sale.

Though, some of these other names do not inspire confidence. Do they?

A number of new agencies and business models purport to introduce buyers without any or minimal marketing claiming it saves sellers money and time.

Sounds quick, simple and easy. BUT does it really benefit you

If it’s a secret and no-one knows, how can this help you?

It cannot… it only benefits the lazy or unscrupulous agent and their friends.

We’ve seen and heard too many stories of people taken advantage of, in what ‘was meant’ to be an ‘Off-Market’ sale.

We don’t do that!

Our past clients have used a Low-Key sale in situations where they had a need to be private and discreet.

For example. They did not wish to alert the neighbours or there’s been a separation or divorce involved, it’s a forced sale, the owners have been threatened, the owners are moving and do not want certain other people to be aware they are leaving. At other times someone in the property has been unwell or there’s been a distressing family situation, the sale has involved a deceased estate, it’s been tenanted for a long term with little access for improvements, there may be undesirable tenants. There have also been times where the older owners were awaiting a place in a retirement village or rooms in a hostel. Or it’s simply that they were not in a hurry and wanted to skip any fuss. So a low-key was perfect.

However, it means that overall there are Fewer Buyers and Therefore Less Competition for the property.

All of our past and future clients are made aware of the benefits as well as any downside to the Low Key Option.

There is essentially nothing wrong with this strategy a) If it suits your personal circumstances and b) That you are fully informed in advance.

It can also mean a longer time on the market.

Low-Key can mean bringing in purchasers from a buyer database, or those who missed out on other premium property and are prepared to pay for the opportunity to secure a home with little or no competition.

This can be extended to include additional online and offline marketing with or without a signboard. The option to jump to a premium marketing campaign is only a step away.

Let me know if you’d like to know more. Are your circumstances such, that a Low-Key Sale may be the most suitable option for you? Call 08 83961100.

# 8 – What About Private Sale? 

In this case, it means private sale as in ‘for sale by owner’.

Sellers often mistakenly believe they’ll save the agents fee. That’s exactly what the buyers think too. So no-one really wins here. I know many investors and professional buyers who target private sellers because they usually buy the property for much less than it’s worth. There’s often little negotiation plus an agent is not there to protect the seller if things take a turn for the worse with potential buyers.

Here’s something you may like to know:

As founder and CEO of ForSaleByOwner.com, Colby Sambrotto naturally put his own techniques to work selling his personal property. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, nothing happened. His trendy New York condominium sat unsold for six months!

Eventually, he gave up. Mr Sambrotto not only hired an agent, he even agreed to a full fee and marketing budget. His decision paid off, and his condo was soon under contract.

What was the key?

Experience…

Based on his knowledge of the market, Jesse Buckler pushed the CEO to raise his asking price. When they listed the condo, the savvy agent set their sale price $150,000 higher than originally marketed.

Despite his expertise in the FSBO sphere, Mr Sambrotto didn’t realize he was sabotaging his very own sale. By incorrectly pricing his trendy condo in a hot market, he actually scared away potentially interested buyers!

Sometimes that’s all it takes to close the deal on an unsold home –

An Expert…

And when the expert you hire helps get your home sold for more money, it’s really a no-brainer.

CEO of ForSaleByOwner.com or not, Colby Sambrotto would certainly agree!

And he’s not the only one: Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has stated at multiple conferences that he loves his real estate agent. His business gives many owners an opportunity to post their own home for sale. Craigslist gives owners a platform to attract local buyers including Australia, without an agent. 

But, when Craig has real estate deals to do, just like Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, Vince Colosimo, Tina Arena & other celebrities…

THEY hire an agent.

# 9 – Is There an Alternative to Private Sale?

Yes, it’s called the Partner Program

Partner Program Explained
Rather than just be left on your own or a with lack of local support. We developed a system for sellers who want to DIY or be more involved.

So, if you want to save on agent fees and do not want the traps and pitfalls of a For Sale by Owner by Private Sale.

This is the Partner Program…

We provide all the marketing and everything needed to sell your property as well as negotiate on your behalf. We do it all, except you do the opens yourself and save some money in the process.

Check out Partner Program here.

Find more Frequently Asked Questions here.

What if I am Buying a Home?

You can find more in this article.

For General – Frequently Asked Real Estate Questions & Answers

Click here.

For Updates on – The Governments ‘Coronavirus Covid-19’ Health Alert

Our sympathies go out to all the families of those who have died and people afflicted with the virus, we wish you a speedy recovery.

Stay safe & stay away from each other.

Click here for the updates.

We Are Here For You!

(PS This is the article I am referring to!)

Got questions, comments or feedback? Email [email protected]
To find out more, you’re welcome to call 08 83961100 to arrange a chat with people that care.
Alternatively, Book a Free Consultation or Get Your Home Value Here. We’ll Guide You Home!
Feel free to browse the rest of our Blog for more tips tricks and helpful info you can use.
Not sure of some of the terms & meanings used? Check our comprehensive GlossaryAbbreviations and FAQ’s!
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Thanks for reading…
What else would YOU like to know about? What would make a great story?
Do you have any specific questions or advice on buying, selling, renting or investing? Real Estate trends? Local, interstate international? Info on the buying or selling process? How to sell or buy? What NOT to do?
What can you TELL us about?
Your neighbourhood – What do you love? Shops, Parks for families, pets, to relax? Restaurants, pubs, hotels, places to go, things to do? Anything else at all? Share Your Own Real Estate, Property, Wisdom & Experiences… The Good, The Bad or The Ugly? What have you learned that other people should know?
Know someone who needs help?
You can REFER them here.
Whatever Topic or Suggestion you have… email us at [email protected] or call 08 83961100.
We’d love to hear about your ideas.
Like most things in life, these are recommendations only. It is not legal advice, it may or may not suit your own circumstances and you may need to make your own additional enquiries.
Regards Eriks & Team Plaza Real Estate 

Thank you, talk soon!
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