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The Government's announcement on what the real estate industry can and can't do during alert level 3 has underscored the need for more digital solutions for buyers and sellers, one real estate expert says.
However, although some are clear auctions will move to a more online platform others remain unclear on what life in level 3 will look like and what it will mean for the real estate industry.
In alert level 3, real estate agents can enter people's homes but they cannot have customers in the office or run open homes.
One-on-one viewings and pre-settlement inspections may be possible and physical interactions involved in a house sale, purchase and settlement should be done remotely.
Final pre-settlement inspection in person may be possible as long as all physical distancing and public health measures are taken.
People can also move homes and rentals between regions under level 3.
Vikas Verma, general manager of NZME-owned property listings site OneRoof.co.nz, said the need for social distancing during level 4 and 3 meant buyers needed different ways to view properties when physical access may be limited or impossible.
Verma said new and existing technology, such as virtual walkthroughs, 3D tours and online auctions, could make it easier for the housing market to continue to operate as the country fights the coronavirus pandemic.
That included a new virtual viewing function and search tool on the OneRoof website allowing buyers to find properties where a 3D or virtual walkthrough or video tour was available.
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"Virtual or 3D walkthroughs and video tours are features some property listings already offered before lockdown but until now they might have been considered nice to have, but not essential.
"Since lockdown they have become a key driver to gaining property interest and property listings that embrace this tech will no doubt have an edge in the current challenging market."
General manager of Tremains Bay of Plenty and Waikato, Anton Jones, felt lucky his staff had time to prepare for level 3 at least two weeks before lockdown.
Jones said that included stopping open homes, which meant more personal viewings and moving auctions to more of an online operation with phone bidding.
Despite the changes, Jones said sales had been pretty good since lockdown.
"We have had a few conditional sales subject to seeing the house after lockdown or when we move into level 3," he said.
"There will be a flurry of activity when we first come out because there are going to be people who haven't been able to sell or buy. I don't know how long that will last or if it will last. That is the crystal ball we are looking into."
He said under level 3 there was no reason to be buying homes without seeing them first as buyers were still able to view a home.
"We have had a few people do it but it is a very risky way of buying. There is nothing stopping them from having a look. There is no reason to do it."
Real Estate Institute of Technology chief executive Bindi Norwell approved of the Government's clarity on how real estate organisations can safely operate in level 3.
However, Norwell welcomed further clarification from ministers to allow the real estate profession to support people buying or selling a home.
"We're also looking for additional clarification around whether private viewings of homes and rental properties are acceptable under Level 3.
"Once we have this additional information, we will be releasing detailed guidelines for the profession in the coming days."
Tauranga Harcourts managing director Simon Martin agreed more information was needed to be able to understand what real estate looked like in level 3.