An easier way to do business

Open for business ... Peter Wilson, of Edinburgh Realty, in front of a Connell St property in...
Open for business ... Peter Wilson, of Edinburgh Realty, in front of a Connell St property in Waverley yesterday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
There might not be any open homes — but real estate agents are very much open for business.

Buying and selling a house under Covid-19 Alert Level 3 rules is very different from the popular open-home scenario.

But longtime agent Peter Wilson, of Edinburgh Realty, reckoned it was a much simpler process and one that had ‘‘lots of positives’’ for all involved.

Private viewings of houses were by appointment only and only serious buyers were to attend, deterring those that were ‘‘filling in an afternoon’’, Mr Wilson said.

The occupants had to leave and there was a maximum of two private viewings a day. A maximum of two people from the attendee’s ‘‘extended bubble’’ could attend, along with one licensee.

Feedback had already been positive since the move to Alert Level 3 on Tuesday and it was a ‘‘much more pleasant way to operate’’, he said.

Before the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown, there could be more than 100 people through an open home, making it challenging to ‘‘look at a 100sqm house with 99 others’’.

Under the new rules, it was a more relaxed way to look at property and reminded him of how properties were sold when he started in the real estate industry in the 1980s.

While there had been a few frustrated potential buyers wanting to look at properties during the lockdown, people had mostly been very understanding of the situation and respectful of the protocols in place.

There was also increased interest in investment properties as people became risk averse, and preferred to invest in property, he said.

March data from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand showed about 1100 fewer sales occurred nationally during the six days of the Alert Level 4 lockdown in March than would normally have occurred during that period.

However, sales did not grind to a complete halt. More than 480 properties sold during those six days, using means such as online or telephone auctions or virtual tenders, REINZ said.

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