Property inspection ban reversed

Barry Plant Mitchell Shire director Simon Best.

By Jackson Russell

Mitchell Shire real estate agents have breathed a sigh of relief after the State Government reversed its decision to ban private property inspections following industry backlash.

The government announced the ban earlier this month as part of directions from the chief health officer to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Following conversations between the Real Estate Institute of Victoria and Minister for Consumer Affairs Marlene Kairouz, the ban was overturned.

Hess Real Estate director Peter Hess said it was a great to see the rules clarified for buyers and sellers.

“We still have good numbers of people wanting to move into the Mitchell Shire as they see it as a good alternative to the more heavily populated suburbs and also see good value,” he said.

“In the real estate in the area, there is now talk of other restrictions being lifted in other areas so we would expect the buyer numbers to increase as things get back to normal.”

Barry Plant Mitchell Shire director Simon Best said the ban was ‘overkill’.

“We follow the guidelines to a tee when having inspections while other industries have much more interaction than we would,” he said.

“We’ve got people that need to find homes, people that have sold and need to buy within the settlement period and tenants that need to find accommodation.

“If we can’t show them those properties, it puts the end user in a predicament that they can’t source all the suitable homes available.”

Mr Best said while business had become difficult, the agency was finding a way through it, including using virtual tours of properties.

“We’ve asked the buyers when they’ve gone through if they were useful and they almost unanimously said they were helpful in shortlisting properties,” he said.

“Locally, we’re making a sale every second day while the coronavirus is going on so the market hasn’t stalled by any means, it’s a bit slower but there’s still people out there buying.”

The agency has also taken numerous precautions to protect customers and employees while conducting inspections.

Mr Best said he wore disposable gloves to inspections and offered gloves to customers. If they decline gloves, he asked them not to touch anything and opened every door for them.

“Most people have their head around what’s happening but it’s a common sense approach to dealing with COVID-19,” he said.

“All our paperwork is being done by digital signature so there’s no in-person signing and we’re having online meetings where we can.”