Article 27 April 2020 by Tonya Davidson What a year this week has been! On Monday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison decreed that there would be no open for Inspection and no further Auctions. In this rapidly changing real estate landscape, agents have to improvise and adapt - think polar bear in the desert or meerkat on a space shuttle!By Wednesday, agents were embracing online Auctions, expanding or rejigging their teams to cover a spike in private inspections, and getting comfortable with video interaction and negotiation. The off-market process will require a more detailed and personable digital marketing approach and much deeper client engagement. On top of these changes are the extra safety considerations for buyers and vendors - disinfectant, physical distancing, sanitizer and the like.More than ever, personal relationships will make a difference. It is the experienced agents who know their clients and have done the work, that won't skip a beat.Buyer Challenges While seasoned advocates will soon adjust to the brave new property market, buyers will need extra support. Purchasing real estate is stressful enough, but now they face new challenges: both obvious and subtle.Obvious The directive is to stay at home if you can avoid exposure to others - avoid COVID. It’s especially important for buyers who are elderly or compromised. But, some clients are on a deadline because their own home is approaching its settlement date. Subtle Access to properties both on and off-market will be tougher. Vendors will be worried about their exposure to infection and have fewer options for filling in time while you are visiting. They will expect potential buyers to qualify before they make an appointment. Two or more walk - troughs might become an impossible luxury. Real estate will be going back decades to when a buyer qualified in order to be escorted through a property. Only this time, there’ll be no complimentary car ride with the agent as a chauffeur! Agents who lived through the early nineties watched the market plummet and had to adapt or exit. If these seasoned professionals can also harness and adapt to technology, the current market challenges can be overcome. Some agents will fall into the trap of one-way communication - email and direct messaging. But, this reduces engagement and vastly reduces outcomes for both vendor and buyer. Sales is a people business and if you can't communicate effectively in a visual real-time format, success is far less likely.Solutions for Buyers At Davidson Property Advocates we provide solutions, coupled with outstanding results. Our determination to help buyers rise above any problem has never been greater. We have access to what will soon be a sharply increasing portfolio of off-market properties. Our relationships built over decades open the door to this ever-growing secondary market. They translate to "priority qualification" ensuring you get prime physical entry through us. We offer you a concise shortlist of suitable properties that have already been inspected, minimizing your exposure to others. Our peerless technology means you’re kept informed of all activity, via our bespoke client portal. We couldn’t be more transparent. We’ll meet with you through our user-friendly video conferencing tool (no need for downloads-simply click on a link) that allows us to share our screen and visuals with you. It really helps effective communication. We’ve adapted quickly and put in place all the right tools so we can work together to overcome the current real estate hurdles. We’re in position, so you make the right decision at the right time.Property- Where are we and where are we going? Right now, the world seems full of Chicken Little worried that the sky is falling. And there are some serious acorns raining down. Plummeting oil prices, high household debt, a coronavirus ‘recession’, threats of rampant deflation…None of us know what this global pandemic will do to the world economy longer term, but there are some things we can count on. One of these is the ability of property markets to eventually bounce back... So do you hold, do you sell, should you invest, what if you must buy? According to Eliza Owen of Core Logic, negative economic shocks do not always predict a fall in housing values. In the GFC, the national dwelling market dropped by 7.5% from February 2008 to January 2009, but quickly recovered after an increase in mining-related investment, the start of a rate-cutting cycle and government stimulus. The 2014/17 tightenings of investment lending contributed to a property downturn but were turned around by a drop in interest rates and more buying from owner-occupiers. Fewer investors in the market – both foreign and local may even help insulate property this year, with fewer people seeking a quick sell-off.Property transactions are expected to drop over the next few weeks while the market adjusts to new government constraints on public gatherings, but the impact on prices is unclear. With Treasury estimating a 10% unemployment rate, some economists predict a 20 percent drop in Melbourne and Sydney house prices as mortgage stress rises, pushing prices down. This would be stellar news for buyers in a position to make a long-term housing commitment but devastating for people forced to sell. Those who usually rent to foreign students or tourists might already be considering this.Ms. Owen reports that the ‘house price expectations’ sub-index fell 6.6% in Marchthe largest fall since February last year. Most financial experts are expecting that the first half of 2020 will continue to be tough, but if the government can help keep people afloat and sales volumes only drop for a while, house values may just hold steady. A lot will depend on whether we see the country’s economy as the new normal or the by-product of a disruptive pandemic that will soon be over.