The Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) is urging all real estate agents to cease arranging open homes and public auctions, considering a continuation of such practices “clearly irresponsible”.
REIA president Adrian Kelly has penned a statement in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s “very clear” address to Australians that they should immediately cease unnecessary travel and cease all unnecessary social interaction in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Mr Kelly said: “With this in mind, the Real Estate Institute of Australia is now calling on all real estate agents across Australia to make significant changes to the way they conduct their business.”
In particular, the president said this is necessary in relation to house inspections and the conduct of public auctions.
“Past practice with open homes and public auctions needs to cease,” he stated.
“We need to take the COVID-19 virus seriously.”
The president said that the deliberate organisation of a gathering of people by a real estate agent “flies in the face of the directives of the Prime Minister”.
“To continue to arrange unmodified public open homes and auctions is clearly irresponsible,” he continued.
Acknowledging that this will “obviously” have an impact on trading, Mr Kelly commented that “it is important that the entire industry pulls together and supports the government in their efforts at this time to limit the spread of COVID-19”.
One-on-one inspections must ‘become the norm’
In his statement, the president said one-on-one private inspections by appointment “must become the norm” and be coupled with appropriate safeguards as recommended by health authorities.
No more open-air auctions
On the topic of public auctions, Mr Kelly said these can still occur via telephone bidding or by using one of the many online auction platforms available.
“We need to show some initiative and resourcefulness at this time,” the president advised.
“As an industry, we are all in this predicament together, and the sooner we all do what needs to be done, the sooner we can return to a more normal real estate market.”