Green light for auctions, open homes

By Sharon Wright

Onsite real estate auctions and open home inspections have been given the green light to resume after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on Tuesday night.

There will, however, be limits on numbers, to adhere to social distancing rules.

Shepparton and Numurkah-based agency Kevin Hicks Real Estate has a number of properties open for inspection this weekend, with at least one auction scheduled for the following weekend.

Auctioneer and director Kevin Hicks said the resumption was timely and came off the back of a “surprisingly strong” few months of sales.

“There has been less activity, but we’ve had continued strong results, with inquiries mainly from genuine buyers only,” Mr Hicks said.

“We’ve adapted quickly to the recent restrictions with online actions and virtual tour technology, but it’s great to be able to resume auction and open homes in person.”

Virtual tours have proven to be a valuable marketing tool, allowing genuine buyers to be aware of their subject and come to inspections well-equipped to finalise their plans.

“Having fewer inquiries hasn’t equated to less sales; typically with a residential house you would have 30 or 40 people go through during a three- to four-week marketing period and you would end up with maybe one or two potential buyers,” Mr Hicks said.

“We recently had a property in north Shepparton, listed for sale with a price guide, and there were only three inspections, all three parties made an offer and it sold within a week.”

The rural sector was also strong, especially for horticulture and broadacre cropping land, although commercial leasing properties were experiencing come challenges.

Mr Hicks said auctions would be limited to 10 registered people so contact details could be recorded and social distancing maintained.

Similarly, open homes will be restricted to 10 people visiting a property at one time, names and contact details recorded and social distancing observed.

“We’ll continue to adhere to health expert recommendations, but this is a terrific step forward,” Mr Hicks said.

“The weather looks set to be very pleasant on the weekend and I’m sure local agents will have plenty of properties presented for inspection this weekend.”

For those planning to list their properties for sale soon, Mr Hicks said time spent in lockdown could be put to good use by preparing their property for a marketing campaign.

“The key thing is presentation: declutter inside the home, get the maintenance up to scratch, make sure the doorknob is not going to fall off in the potential buyer’s hand — it’s those little things people notice,” Mr Hicks said.

Improving the street appeal by removing rubbish from the yard, mowing lawns and tidying gardens was another proactive measure, he said.

● For a list of properties open for inspection this weekend look for The News real estate guide, starting on Page XX.