Property viewings could be at risk following the arrival of Covid-19, says Mike Greeff, chief executive of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate.
As it was clear South Africa would not escape the chilling effect of the virus on the property market, Greeff says his agency has put measures in place to protect buyers, sellers and agents.
Sellers are already concerned about those coming to view their homes, while buyers are worried about visiting homes in which residents may be infected or at risk, he says.
“Health authorities have recommended people adopt social distancing measures to reduce the chances of infection so we will no longer transport potential buyers to our sales properties but rather arrange to meet them there.”
He says all Greeff agents will first inquire of potential buyers:
- Have you and your family travelled at all in the past two weeks?
- Are you or your family experiencing any flu-like symptoms?
- Have you or your family been exposed to anyone who you suspect has been infected with Covid-19?
“Apart from the obvious measures, such as providing Greeff staff and clients with access to hand sanitation, stressing the need to keep their hands washed and avoid close contact with people, we are also suggesting that sales staff operate from home,” Greeff says.
“This is not difficult as most of our agents are on the road in the normal course of events and not sitting in offices.” The effects of the health emergency on property sales are likely to be significant, but will pass.
In the meantime, he offers this advice to those in the real estate industry:
- Advise your clients not to bring young children or ageing parents to home viewings.
- People who over 70 years of age are most susceptible, so minimise their exposure the virus.
- Carry a hand sanitiser and sterile wipes wherever you go: Wipe everything in sight. In your car this is the steering wheel, the gear stick, the handbrake, and door handles to remove any trace of the virus. The same applies to the homes you are showing to your clients.
- Keep your personal space: This is no time to be in close quarters with people you do not know well.
- Be consistent: Get into the habit of protecting yourself, your loved ones and your clients from the virus by paying attention to expert advice.