Brave new world for real estate agents

McGrath Real-Estate principal Patrick McCarthy.
McGrath Real-Estate principal Patrick McCarthy.

With the outbreak of coronavirus in Australia, real estate agents have had to embrace some old ways of working along with some new.

Open homes are out and the traditional one-on-one personal home viewing is back in.

New technology is also being embraced, such as online auctions and virtual inspections.

The changes come after the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) demanded all real estate agents across Australia make significant changes to the way they conduct their business, particularly concerning house inspections and the conduct of public auctions.

An REIA spokesperson said the past practice with open homes and public auctions needed to cease.

"We need to take the Covid-19 Virus seriously. The deliberate organising of a gathering of people by a real estate agent flies in the face of the directives of the Prime Minister, " the spokesperson said.

"To continue to arrange unmodified public open homes and auctions is clearly irresponsible. One on one private inspections by appointment must become the norm coupled with the appropriate safeguards as recommended by health authorities."

McGrath Real-Estate principal Patrick McCarthy said agents are embracing these changes.

"We have put in place a number of technology platforms to help our agents do business more efficiently and as a result, they have adapted more easily to the current climate," he said.

"We can facilitate the entire end to end sales process online from signing an agency agreement, booking inspections, we have auction live streaming where purchasers can register, bid and exchange contracts all online.

"We are embracing this change with a strong mindset and new strategies to service and support our clients during this time."

Founder and owner of Highland property group David Highland said being agile is essential for customer satisfaction in these uncertain times.

"In times of distress, our clients rely on safety and performance and we can offer them this through our agility to respond to changing circumstances, our database of over 80,000 qualified contacts and our evolving technology," he said.

"Our group have actively implemented innovative and flexible ways of conducting inspections and to auction property for our clients via facetime meetings, virtual inspections, 360 virtual tours and online auctions.

"It has been interesting to watch our business stretch through these times, but what I am most proud of is to see our culture pull through and our team rally around and support one another and our clients and our community."

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