REINSW Coronavirus Series - Episode 2

Recorded on 27 March 2020

In the second update of the weekly REINSW webinar series on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the real estate industry, Leanne Pilkington, Kylie Walsh and John Cunningham provide more practical advice for agents. 

Key messages

  • Focus on what you can do until you can’t do it anymore. While everyone else is pushing pause, we need to push play.
  • There are still people needing to buy and people needing to sell, so let’s get deals done.
  • If you have your communication strategies in place, you can come out of this period in a stronger position.
  • Live stream your auction campaigns if possible.
  • Ensure everyone stays positive and collaborate as an industry.
  • As an industry we need to make this an R U OK period. We should be sharing and supporting each other during this time.
  • While the number of listings might fall, the quality might rise.
  • Fear is a major factor at present, so make sure people are getting the right information at the right time.
  • Try to facilitate outcomes that are comfortable for all parties concerned.

Important resources

  • NCAT launched a new coronavirus informational webpage that should answer many of the termination question people are asking. Click here
  • REEF is a key player providing the real estate employers great information at this delicate time. It is committed to helping employers better manage their human resource functions and representing and protecting their workplace relations interests. Click here.
  • Tanja Jones is one of many support coaching. She is offering a free real estate support line. Click here.
  • Remember, if you’re having trouble with a remote internet connection, a mobile modem – such as the Nighthawk M2 (available from a Telstra shop) – can instantly make your new home office more reliable. 

Property management Q&A

Q: Are you still doing property management and routine inspections using technology?
Kylie Walsh: Yes, provided the tenant’s on-board and they’re not unwell, we’re doing walkthroughs with the tenant on the other side. At least it’s keeping on top of the hygiene.

Q: What technology are you actually using for your property management routines?
Kylie Walsh: We’ve set up a lot of our tenants on Teams365 which is our platform. It’s easy to record (and) it’s high-definition quality. But as basic as FaceTime, it’s not difficult, whatever works, whatever’s not a barrier to entry, and whatever is speed to market at the moment.

Q: Can we enter into a residential tenancy from a virtual inspection?
John Cunningham: I don’t think there’s a requirement to have actually physically inspected the property. 
Kylie Walsh: My opinion would be it’s fraught with danger and I think it just gives people, even if they’re not in rental crisis, more of an opportunity to be able to rescind the agreement. 

Q: I sold a property – can we still give 30 days’ notice for vacant possession? 
John Cunningham: My answer to that will be pending lockdown rules. I would be doing all the normal things that you would do because nothing’s changed yet. Legislation will come into place to help cover these things.

Q: What is the situation regarding tenants and rent relief?
Leanne Pilkington: We don’t know the answer to that yet, that’s what we’re waiting to hear from the government. We are lobbying really hard to ensure the agent is still in that payment workflow.

Q: If a full lockdown comes into place, what will happen with settlements and moving in and out of the property? Do you think removalists will still be working?
Leanne Pilkington: At the moment we don’t know what this will look like until we hear the terms of the lockdown. However, looking at New Zealand, they aren’t moving, or selling and removalist can’t work. Our advice to our teams is to be prepared.

Q: If a landlord is renting and wants to move back into their rental property due to hardship how is this going to work if no evictions come into play?
John Cunningham: Simply – if we are in lockdown no one will be moving, hardship or no hardship unfortunately. Unless there are extenuating circumstances. But again, we are in uncharted territory and we don’t have these answers yet.