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Industry goes back to work

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The relaxation of restrictions relating to the property sector means agents and clients can transact again but under strict protocols

Property inspections and viewings are permitted again as the real estate industry kicked off operations this week under strict safety protocols.

While agents can now meet sellers and buyers in person, the industry says such meetings are discouraged and virtual meetings and viewings should still be done. Show houses should also be avoided, says Junel Hickman, associate attorney at STBB Notary and Conveyancers.

Mike Greeff, chief executive of Greeff Christie’s International Real Estate, recommends that agents conduct one-on-one viewings by appointment only. “If the seller is willing to allow viewings, safety measures will be introduced.”

He says the agency is still providing virtual walk-throughs for those who do not want to do physical viewings. Rawson Property Group agents will also conduct meetings with clients via telephone and/or video calls, says managing director Tony Clarke.

“Wherever possible, we’ll make sure that clients view a property virtually first, to ensure that they are genuinely interested and qualified. This saves everyone time and limits unnecessary contact. “If there’s genuine interest a physical viewing can be arranged.”

The relaxing of restrictions – which include the taking of professional videos and photographs – mean it is now possible to conclude sales and leases without these being subject to physical viewings at a later stage, says Arnold Maritz, co-principal of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Southern Suburbs and False Bay.

“This makes all the difference between conducting incomplete business and being able to conclude real non-suspensive transactions.” But while the “normal” activities needed to market and sell or let a property are not allowed, he says the current restrictions make for “a very different routine” and much discipline and patience will need to be exercised by agents, administration staff, and clients.

However the important parts of the business are back to normal and, with the use of technology Knight Frank has adjusted its routines to comply with protocols. It is conducting every other part of the business electronically, says sales and rental manager Lisa Connellan.

“Under level 3 regulations, home viewings are possible and the agents are able to meet you at the property. Screening questionnaires will be done prior to your appointment and additional safety precautions are taken at the viewing.”

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