Real estate agents are modifying their operations after open homes and in-room auctions were banned. Picture: iSTOCK
Real estate agents are modifying their operations after open homes and in-room auctions were banned. Picture: iSTOCK

Open homes, auctions to go digital after ban

OPEN homes and in-room real estate auctions were banned as the Federal Government implemented measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Locations Estate Agents principal Alicia Williams said her team had been expecting the ban and had moved to a "very strict" regimen around open homes.

"We've implemented a strict hygiene policy and social distancing to protect ourselves, protect our clients and obviously the broader community," Ms Williams said.

The Real Estate Institute of Queensland said although the ban affected operations, it wasn't a total ban on real estate transactions from taking place.

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said despite the barriers, it was vital real estate professionals were allowed continuity of operation throughout the coronavirus crisis to ensure the country's property market was a solid foundation for the economy.

"Every Australian needs a home," Ms Mercorella said.

"Whether that home is owned or rented, in almost all cases a real estate professional's services are required to facilitate that journey."

She said because of the open home ban, online and telephone auctions would become the new normal. Ms Williams said phone auctions had limitations as they were not as public, with bidders unable to see each other.

However, she said sellers looking to go to auction would be supported by their agents, adhering to social distancing and using digital technology to make sure it happened.

"We just have to pull another string from our bow and use the technology to support that method of sale," she said.

And while open homes were cancelled, Ms Williams said her team was rolling out as many video recordings of properties as they could.

"We've just got to develop this space on the fly and see how real estate as a whole evolved," she said.