The Weekend Post - Real Estate


Real estate industry is adapting as more people view from a distance


I KNOW it’s been the reality for a while, but I am still getting my head around the concept of “the border” being a thing here in Australia – at least in a way that didn’t involve a passport and a long flight.

Unfortunat­ely, however, this is a concept we have all had to learn to live with over the past 18 months as Covid case numbers have gone up and down (sadly, more up than down) and we’ve gone from open for business to shutting up shop interstate. As our tourist numbers have dropped, so too have numbers of southerner­s flying up to inspect property.

Luckily, the real estate industry has been able to adapt fairly well to the changes, with an accelerati­on of the move to digital advertisin­g, the addition of virtual tours, better video and, of course, the video walk-through. I have seen a lot of people’s couches over the past six months in particular as we take them from their lounge room into the lounge rooms (kitchens, patios, bedrooms etc.) of property here in Cairns.

An increasing number of buyers are using these tools to be able to buy a home or investment property before ever seeing it in person, though with new challenges being thrown in.

Where earlier in the year contracts might have been signed “subject to physical inspection”, allowing a buyer to secure a home with the opportunit­y to then see it for themselves just to be sure, this is no longer an option in the current environmen­t of lockdowns, curfews and extensions. I recently dealt with a lovely couple from Melbourne who excitedly signed a contract to buy their new home on the northern beaches.

The contract was signed in the first week of July, with a flight booked to arrive the next week. It’s now September, their home will settle next week without them being able to set foot in it prior. Given current case numbers, I suspect there’ll be some time yet before they do get that chance.

Moving forward, I suspect we will see southern buyers split into two camps – those desperate to find a new home and “get out”, and those that (understand­ably) want to see it in the flesh (bricks?) before going unconditio­nal.

More than ever, sellers need to be able to accommodat­e buyers a little differentl­y to ensure they’re getting the best result. I certainly expect to see plenty more couches!


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