Covid-19 Update: Business as Unusual

During this unique scenario, we are still open for business, albeit slightly differently.  We continue to monitor the situation and have procedures to minimise the risk to our people and their clients.

  • 26 April, 2020
  • PROPERTY MANAGEMENT, COMMERCIAL, RURAL/LIFESTYLE, RESIDENTIAL

Our thoughts are with those who have been directly affected by Covid-19 and our grateful thanks go to all those essential workers who have continued to work tirelessly to ensure we eliminate this terrible illness.

Business during COVID-19 alert level 3

Our staff remain active, on-call and are working remotely as much as possible.  Our offices are closed to the public. 

Property inspections by appointment only

Prospective buyers should view a property online (for example, by video) wherever possible.  If this isn’t possible or practical, private viewings are allowed under strict conditions.

  • Buyers who are serious about making an offer, or are in the process of making an offer may arrange a private inspection
  • There should be no more than two private viewings per day with allowance in time to clean all surfaces between viewings.
  • Prospective buyers can not travel between regions for a private viewing
  • There should be no more than two people (who must be from the same extended bubble) plus the agent at the viewing and physical distancing should be maintained.
  • The agent will email COVID-19 safety information to viewers before the viewing.  It is the agent’s responsibility to ask the property occupants and prospective buyers if anyone is unwell or has been in contact with a COVID-19 case.
  • The vendor and property occupants (including tenants) must agree to the private viewing and must not be at the property during the viewing.
  • Prospective buyers must pre-register for the private viewing. They must supply full contact details for possible COVID-19 contact tracing.
  • People at high risk of COVID-19 (for example people over 70), shouldn’t attend a private viewing and private viewings should not take place in homes where the occupants are at high risk.

Appraisals

Where possible, appraisals should be conducted by virtual methods instead of the agent visiting the property.  If a virtual appraisal is not possible, agents who comply with health requirements can visit a property to conduct an appraisal if the property owner/occupier agrees.  All discussions about marketing plans, disclosures and how the listing will progress must be by phone or video to minimise personal contact.

Strict procedures must be adhered to and your agent will provide you with these prior to the visit. If you prefer, the property inspection can be carried out virtually by video link. Paperwork must be signed electronically. Contactless pickup or delivery for any paperwork can occur if necessary.

Legal Advice

Many lawyers are working from home and can assist by phone, video call or email.  Advice may take longer than usual.  Allow extra time to consult about any agreements.

Marketing a property

We recommend that new listings are professionally photographed, and a video tour conducted to allow potential buyers the best opportunity to view the property virtually.

Professionals (for example photographers, videographers or home stagers) who visit the property must comply with health requirements as well as any industry-specific or government guidance relevant to their role.  If the property is tenanted, the tenant’s approval is required.

We are unable to use letterbox drops to market a property but have all other regular marketing options available to us.

Making an offer

All discussions about the sale and purchase agreement or offers received must take place by phone or video call.

Contracts must be signed electronically. We can use contactless pickup or delivery for the contract if absolutely necessary.

If your contract is subject to terms requiring specialist inspections (e.g. building report) these can be conducted under strict conditions including physical distancing.  Professionals can only visit a property to do an inspection if that inspection is a condition on an offer that has been accepted by the vendor.  Purchasers should not attend the property with the professional.  We recommend they stay in contact via phone or video if they wish to.  Professionals visiting the property must comply with our COVID-19 safety rules for private inspection.

Buying a tenanted property

Tenancies cannot be terminated unless there are special circumstances.   This applies for three months from 26 March, although the government may choose to extend this.  Tenants may move house during alert level 3.

Auctions

Auctions can only take place by phone or online bidding.

Professionals may only visit a property to do an inspection if that inspection is a condition of an offer that has been accepted by the vendor. If the property is tenanted, the tenants’ approval is required.

Where the terms of an auction say only unconditional bids may be accepted, the agent will talk to the vendor about the vendor providing professional reports for the property (for example, building inspection reports).

Where the vendor is providing professional reports, the agent will explain to any potential buyers the risks of relying on a report commissioned by the vendor.

Settlements and moving

Settlements and moving to a new house can occur.  Your final pre-settlement inspection can proceed under the guidelines of private inspections. Your agent will arrange sanitised keys to be provided with contactless delivery. There are no domestic travel restrictions for the purpose of relocation.

Rental inspections

Inspections of properties available to rent can proceed under strict guidelines. Rental inspections can only go head in emergency situations, such as if a property manager needs to confirm that emergency maintenance is required.

Health requirements

To support continued services for our customers, we are complying with these health requirements at alert level 3:  

  • continue to maintain 2-metre physical distancing
  • not visit a property if the occupants are unwell, are self-isolating, or have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days
  • not visit a property if the agent or anyone the agent has been in contact with are unwell, are self-isolating, or have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days
  • minimise our time at a property
  • maintain physical distancing by minimising personal contact with all people outside our extended bubble including colleagues, clients and potential buyers
  • limit the number of people at the property –no more than two people at any one time, except for private viewings (see below).
  • keep a record of everyone we have contact with including their contact details.

Should you have any concerns or questions about health and safety protocols, please connect with your agent directly.

 

LJ Hooker NZ

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