The latest casualties of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions are real estate auctions and open homes. Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on 24 March that the real estate events would cease at midnight (25 March) in a bid to combat the spread of Coronavirus. 

Real estate auctions and open house inspections cannot continue, but we’re still working hard to sell properties while adhering to the new restrictions. The public health order is a federal order but it’s not a total ban on real estate transactions, rather a ban on unnecessary gatherings. 

The Prime Minister said on-site and in-room auctions, along with open for inspections, were banned. No other restrictions were announced for property management or property sales other than the existing restrictions on physical distancing and hygiene.

Speaking to real estate coach, Tom Panos, the REINSW President and REIA board member, Leanne Pilkington, said we, as real estate agents, are still considered an essential business. “There are a lot of restrictions we need to follow.” One of the measures being discussed among us real estate agents is pre-registered open home visits. “That way you can have people pre-register at a time and they can go through one family at a time. It’s also being suggested people keep their hands in their pockets when going through the home,” said Pilkington. 

We real estate agents are still permitted to and are encouraged to host virtual property tours, private inspections and online/digital auctions. Auctions could be conducted via telephone bidding or online bidding. Prominent auction houses, including Cooley Auctions, have already begun streaming all their auctions online through the platform Auction Now.

The Prime Minister said the question of leases is set to be considered by the national cabinet in its next meeting on the night of 25 March.

It is not yet clear how long the ban on open houses and auctions will be in place.