Buying & Selling in a Pandemic
While buying or selling a property may not be high on everyone’s “to-do list”, there are many reasons and circumstances why property will continue to be bought and sold in the coming weeks and months.
For the time being property professionals along with the government agencies who support the transfer of property are all open for business.
If you are looking to buy or sell here’s what you need to know…
Can I do a home open?
No, not in the traditional sense, but speak to your Real estate agent to discuss innovative ideas and understand the precautions they can and must take to keep you and your family safe.
(Update 26/4/2020: 10 people allowed from 27/4/2020 Source: https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2020/04/Cautious-easing-of-restrictions-thanks-to-WAs-COVID-19-progress.aspx)
Here’s our top tips:
- Consider a simple and cost-effective video to showcase your home
- Increase the number of photos
- Have your agent book viewing by appointment only
- Check out Openn Negotiation, a new sales technique that simulates some of the excitement of an online auction.
- Why not consider Virtual Inspection or Virtual Tours
- Don’t wait until there’s an offer on your property to speak to a settlement agent, you may have specific needs that will delay settlement so start the conversation now and search Find a conveyancer.com
What happens if I am required to self-isolate when I sell?
In many cases the date of settlement, the day you hand over the keys, can be delayed by mutual agreement between both parties. Typically, your settlement agent will act as your intermediary to negotiate an outcome. REIWA recently announced a new COVID 19 Annexure that is a basic agreement between parties to manage possible delays.
What happens if the buyer’s finance is withdrawn?
In the event the buyer’s circumstances change they may still be required to proceed with the purchase. Failure to do so could mean forfeiture of their deposit and future legal action against them to recoup any of your losses. If this should happen try to be understanding and empathetic, sometimes things just don’t go according to plan!
How do I complete paperwork with all the new restrictions in place?
All the necessary paperwork will be facilitated by your settlement agent who is keeping up with strategies to manage all the different situations you may find yourself in, even if you are self-isolating or in a quarantine situation.
Can I transfer property to a family member or friend?
Yes. If you want to avoid listing your property and know someone who is keen to buy, or maybe you want to gift a property (lucky them!) then simply speak to a settlement agent to have all the necessary paperwork drafted. While you will save on sales commissions, it is important to factor in government fees and charges as well all those unavoidable tasks a settlement agent must undertake on your behalf.
Will Banks still lend me money
Yes. Banks are still open for business and with rates so low, now is a great time for anyone with secure employment to buy. Plus there are still first home owners grants and an off the plan duty rebate.
Can I view a home?
Yes, but don’t expect a typical weekend home open. Viewing is likely to be by appointment only. Expect precautions and don’t request a viewing unless you have a genuine interest. Consider a drive-by first so as get a feel for the location. Even better, park the car and walk around the neighborhood.
Can I buy a home without inspecting it?
Yes, but you might want to think about some innovative ways to ensure you’re making a smart decision. Consider these tips:
- Have the Agent live stream a walkthrough
- Ask a trusted and knowledgeable friend to view the property for you if you can’t
- Have a building/pest inspector be your eyes and ears. Best still they prepare a report so there are no hidden surprises when you move in!
- Know the risks, do as much research as you can including requesting or purchasing a Landgate Property Interest Report.
- If you are thinking of buying then consider Title Insurance
- Speak to a settlement agent about any special conditions or clauses you might want to include in your offer.
Can I make an offer?
Yes, but before you do speak to a licensed settlement agent to discuss conditions and clauses that you may want included in the written offer. While REIWA has announced a new COVID 19 Annexure there is no one single clause to factor in all the potential issues of Covid-19, there are also many other considerations worth exploring with your settlement agent. Strike up the chat today!
Can I request a Building & Pest Inspection? Yes. Sellers must accept your right to inspect unless otherwise agreed to by both parties. REIWA have created an Offer and Acceptance Contract which in conjunction with the Joint Form of General Conditions is the widely accepted means by which property is bought, sold and settled in Western Australia.
What happens if my bank withdraws finance?
In the event your employment circumstances change, and your bank withdraws finance, you may still be legally bound to proceed with your purchase.
In the event this happens, you may be entitled to a mortgage repayment deferment so its best you speak to your mortgage broker or bank first and then finally your settlement agent.
Can I lose my deposit if finance is withdrawn?
Yes, the seller has the right after 10 days to keep the deposit and recoup any damages in the event the property later for sells for less.
What we all hope is that the buyer and seller can come to some agreement that is acceptable to both parties. If all else fails, you will need to seek legal advice, again this where your settlement agent might be able to recommend a trusted legal property professional.
When can I move into my new home?
A settlement date is usually a mutually agreed date between you and the seller, taking into account lots of factors that might mean you have to wait just between 3 and 4 weeks.
If you need to cross regions and are worried about the WA regional travel restrictions we advise you to check on wa.gov.au and search for regional travel exemptions ie https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-regional-travel-restrictions as well a carry a signed copy of your contract of sale with you.
Source:17th April 2020, aicwa eNewsletter