What changes under new era of open houses

IT WILL be back to business as (almost) normal for real estate agents across the Coffs Coast this weekend with open homes back on the agenda.

In an exciting announcement for agents, vendors and buyers alike, the NSW government relaxed restrictions on open homes and in-person auctions implemented six weeks ago due to COVID-19.

Principal of Cardow & Partners Coffs Harbour Aleta Stephens said they have been busy with virtual tours and one-on-one private inspections but look forward to a little normality returning to the industry.

"We will be moving forward with open homes but continuing the same routine of using sanitisers, gloves and minimum numbers viewing at any one time," she said.

"We have also had vendors waiting for the ban to be lifted to move forward with selling their homes, so lifting the ban will bring back both optimism and confidence back to the market.

"With interest rates remaining at an all-time low it will be a good time to buy."

Christine Clarke of Raine & Horne Coffs Harbour said the announcement was a nice surprise.

"It's a great sign of the ongoing success of limiting the spread and I think a good sign of things to come," she said.

"Even though we're doing open houses we'll be following the guidelines, good hygiene and social distancing. The physicality of the inspections won't change; it will just mean it's a bit more user friendly for potential buyers."

She said there was no doubt things had slowed but there were plenty of people who had a reason to be buying or selling that had still been active in the marketplace.

"Now that things are starting to relax and it looks like we're coming out the other end, I feel people who were thinking about either buying or selling previously will start to think about putting their plans back into action."

Her message was simple though.

"Irrespective of what we're buying or selling, the relaxing of the restrictions is a positive sign that things are returning to life as we knew it."

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Health Brad Hazzard warned there was no place for complacency, with community safety and social distancing to remain an ongoing priority.

"The real estate industry has been adaptable in transitioning to online auctions, property inspections by appointment or online, and now as we make the move back to a more normal mode of operation we must ensure safety measures such as social distancing remain a key part of the process."

Minister Hazzard said these measures were vital to ensure the safety of customers, property owners and real estate staff as a more traditional face-to-face way of inspections and auctions re-commenced.

"The community has done an outstanding job in limiting the spread of Covid-19 and we need to make sure we continue to exercise vigilance and care," Mr Hazzard said.

"Real estate agents should limit the number of people viewing a property and attending an auction, follow stringent cleaning and safety guidelines, ensure clients do not touch surfaces and always have hand sanitiser available."

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