Real estate adapting to a new world order

Millions of property owners around the globe are currently locked down in their homes, wondering what effect this pandemic will have on their most valuable assets

According to Schalk van der Merwe, franchisee for the Rawson Helderberg Group, the precise effect on the property market is currently impossible to predict – the situation changes day by day and hour by hour. One thing he can say for certain, however, is that things are definitely not just standing still.

Van der Merwe says the Rawson Properties Helderberg team has been kept as busy as ever. Their focus? Helping buyers and sellers strategize for when lockdown lifts.

“Our job as real estate agents is so much more than just facilitating transactions,” he says. “We’re here to help property owners – and prospective owners – make strong and informed property decisions in all market conditions. That support is invaluable in the best of times, but even more so in times of crisis like we are experiencing now. Our team is really pushing itself to be there for our community and help them navigate these uncharted waters.”

What does that navigation look like? Van der Merwe says it varies depending on the situation.

“For some of our clients, it makes sense to hold off on buying or selling while they assess the state of their affairs,” he explains. “Our role there is to keep them informed of any changes in the market and empower them to make the right decision when the time for action comes.

“For others, there is an urgent need – or desire – to buy or sell as soon as possible. Here, we are supporting clients with things like virtual property viewings and handling negotiations, offers to purchase and agreements of sale online.”

This process may be little different to the norm, but Van der Merwe says successful sales are still taking place. His office has closed six transactions where viewings took place prior to lockdown and has finalised several other agreements subject to physical viewings which are to be arranged with our agents and clients following stringent hygiene and safety protocol.

With social distancing likely to continue as the norm for at least 6 to 18 months post lockdown, Van der Merwe says the operational models set in motion now will remain in play for some time to come.

“We’re very lucky to have an incredibly powerful digital tool suite at our fingertips at Rawson Property Group, and we’ve honed our virtual services to be able to continue providing our signature level of service at a safe distance.”

Van der Merwe is quick to point out, however, that technology alone is not the answer. Rather, it’s the supporting player in a game that remains very human-centric.

“People aren’t designed for isolation,” he says, “and they need the experience, adaptability and human insight of a genuine professional now more than ever. Technology has played a vital role in enabling business to keep running at a safe social distance, but it’s the personal touch that is making all the difference in this new, physically separated world.

“By embracing technology to support our role as trusted advisors, I think real estate agents have a lot of value to add during lockdown and the pandemic in general. No matter what the market does – upswing, downswing or stagnation – we’ll be there, helping our clients make the best possible property choices through it all.”

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