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How to secure a property in post-lockdown Melbourne

Melbourne houses and skyline
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Melbourne has experienced a surge in activity after private inspections were once again allowed. Photo: Shutterstock

How to secure a property in post-lockdown Melbourne

Inevitably, COVID-19 has meant implementing changes across the real estate industry – many that we’ll see continue for who knows how long. But the push the industry made to expedite the return of in-person inspections is paying off.

Inevitably, COVID-19 has meant implementing changes across the real estate industry – many that we’ll see continue for who knows how long. 

But the push the industry made to expedite the return of in-person inspections is paying off. 

We can take an auction online, but we can’t expect serious buyers without physical inspections. 

Since September 28, when Melbourne allowed inspections to resume, listing numbers have soared – Melbourne’s releasing some of that pent-up real estate energy and it’s hot out there.

This past weekend in Melbourne saw 505 homes under the hammer, the largest number of auctions since July; and the largest number for the Grand Final weekend since 2010. 

The clearance rate figures have emerged and sit at 76.7 percent, a healthy figure and higher than the 72.2 percent clearance rate for the same time last year.

While we’re much closer to ‘normal’, it’s still not business as usual. For those who are looking to take advantage of the surge in stock, understanding how the market is operating will be intrinsic to how you play your hand at this time.

On a general note, everything is faster. Lots of vendors, who’ve been holding off over the lockdown period, are now anxious to sell and willing to do so quickly. 

Auctions are running much shorter campaigns – many just two weeks, rather than a traditional four. Competition is also high. There’s an equal number of buyers to sellers, who’ve had to wait it out over lockdown.

With those factors in mind, here’s my tips for securing a post-lockdown property.

Tip one: Expressions of interest (EOI)

Express your interest, and, if possible, early. Right now, properties are selling to buyers who are acting decisively. You don’t need to wait until the close date. In fact, if you find the ‘right’ property, then put in an offer to trigger something sooner. 

Do the numbers and work out a price that will take it off the market. Don’t assume that you won’t have to compete – if the agent has interest she will likely convert it to a Zoom or boardroom auction within 24 to 48 hours of your offer being submitted.

Tip two: Be auction-ready

Be prepared for auction, and having the auction happen online. If the number of registered buyers exceeds 10 then you’re in for a ride, and a virtual one. 

But don’t be deterred – there are some genuine benefits of virtual auctions. You won’t find yourself as caught up in the bluster and emotion of the event. 

Virtual auctions tend to be slower giving you more time to process. If you’re uncomfortable with the format or nervous with tech then work with a buyer’s advocate who can act on your behalf. 

Know your value; and know your competition. In an online environment you can’t eyeball them across the footpath. Instead, use the lead up to develop a good relationship with the selling agent. They can help you understand who you’re up against.

Tip three: without a contract – nothing

Until there’s a contract, don’t put in an offer. Even after a contract has arrived, hold on an offer until you’ve asked the right questions of the agent: How will they handle offers if someone submits an acceptable one early?

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