THE FIRST NATIONAL RESPONSE TO COVID-19 - WE PUT YOU FIRST

Wednesday 19 Aug 2020

 

First National Real Estate has led the industry in terms of providing its member agents with information and technology essential to complying with continuously changing Victorian Government requirements.

We've gone much further than that though.

Since March, we have implemented literally hundreds of digital innovations and protocols to assure the safety of our Victorian customers, the success of their property purchases and sales, the support of our commercial tenants and landlords, and the continuity of all permissible rental management services - to the protection and advantage of our tenants.

In Melbourne, our members are working from outside their offices to facilitate critical, permitted real estate functions so:

  • Tenants can move into and out of properties, where permitted
  • Homeowners can settle their homes that were sold prior to Stage 4 restrictions

Where Stage-4 restrictions apply, we've pivoted to virtual property tours, digital inspections and online auctions.

Throughout regional Victoria, we're showing property by private appointment and auctions are being conducted online. Our staff are performing their duties from home, unless a particular task cannot be executed at home.

The actions we have taken to equip our members with market-leading digital technologies have:

  • Protected home sellers from adverse impacts on the sale of their home due to the loss of regional newspapers
  • Assured buyers with 'active intent' are reached by First National property adverts through the efficient use of BIG data
  • Enabled tenants to end leases and get their bond back quickly

We will continue to support our customers in the facilitation of property settlements and the execution of leases, so we can keep Victorians homed and safe.

WHAT VICTORIANS & ESTATE AGENTS CAN AND CAN'T DO

No movement is permitted from Melbourne to regional Victoria for the purposes of inspecting a property. Inspections for Stage-4 restricted Melbourne residents may only be conducted virtually. If you had already arranged to move before Wednesday 5 August, you may proceed, but subject to the 8:00 pm to 5:00 am curfew.

 

Selling homes

In Melbourne, you can put your home on the market for private sale or auction but all inspections and auctions must be carried out remotely, and we're unable to enter new listings to do photography or styling. Homeowner can provide us with photos or videos, electronically. We don't anticipate, however, that many buyers will commit to a property purchase in Melbourne while Stage-4 restrictions prevent physical inspections.

  • If you were committed to settling when Stage-4 restrictions began, you can proceed
  • Agents can facilitate valuations, pest and building inspections, pre-settlement inspections, and contact-free key collections

In regional Victoria, private appointments to view homes for sale are permissible (one-on-one) but the resident must be away from the property for an approved reason under Stay-at-Home rules when the inspection occurs. Auctions must be online.

 

Leasing homes

In Melbourne, tenants can end a lease and start a new one, where circumstances would make it unsafe for them not to do so i.e. domestic violence and/or the home is no longer suitable or available. Otherwise, they should stay where they are.

However, there are significant restrictions on the movements our property managers are permitted to make under Stage-4 restrictions. We are permitted to conduct final inspections on outgoing tenancies to facilitate bond releases, and tenants are allowed to arrange removalists and cleaners (if required due to disability, impairment, or their tenancy agreement). While we are performing these tasks, we can take steps to facilitate the commencement of a new lease, but only then.

In regional Victoria, tenants may begin and end leases but inspections of properties are only permitted by appointment (one-on-one).

SUPPORTING & CARING FOR CUSTOMERS

The impacts of COVID-19 have created enormous complications for everybody.

From the outset, when mounting business closures and job losses created distress for our tenants and landlords, we actively supplied advice about the financial support available to both. Then, we set about negotiating and implementing relief arrangements, where circumstances required.

Our members adopted remote work arrangements and enacted open home/private appointment safety protocols swiftly, while our marketing materials were refined to assure buyers and tenants understood the procedures we had (and have) in place to minimise risk.

Our all-important professional development programmes, which set the standards that assure customer satisfaction and safety, immediately switched to online delivery - with overwhelming member participation.

Then there are the behind the scenes things we've done that are less visible to customers, but which greatly influence outcomes in customer satisfaction. Right across Australia, our member agents have pulled together to support one another's wellbeing and business management, because without that, we couldn't continue to provide Australia's best property services.

These are trying times for all Australians but rest assured, we are 100% committed to finding solutions to your challenges, supporting you as best we can, and our actions speak louder than words.

We put you first.