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Ray White Whangarei & Tutukaka’s response to COVID-19

By Admin Whangarei

A message to our clients

The health and wellbeing of our members and our customers is of paramount importance to our company, and our thoughts are with all our communities throughout New Zealand and especially those that may have been directly affected by COVID-19.

As a non-essential business, our physical premises have closed and our team members are now working from home to look after not only their current activities but also ensure that we maintain the highest level of service to to our landlords, tenants, customers and clients.

Our staff will remain active and on-call – available by phone and email.  Whilst some patience will be required by all of us as we adjust to a slightly new way of working, we will still be able to work with you on your sale, settlements and manage purchaser enquiry as it comes in.  Whilst we don’t have a crystal ball, rest assured our management team are monitoring things daily and our team is meeting digitally  to discuss what is happening in our market. Ray White is also in regular contact with the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand and any new developments are being communicated daily.  We look forward to continuing to provide our customers with great service and excellent outcomes in the weeks and months ahead.

Please scroll down for some answers to frequently asked questions. We will endeavour to keep this page up-to-date with information as it comes to hand.

We assure you of our commitment during this difficult period and we are here and available for you.  Thank you on behalf of the company for your continued engagement and support.

Take care of yourselves, and each other.

Vanessa McKenzie, John Monteith, Allan Sykes and Chris Hannam
Ray White Whangarei & Tutukaka Company Directors

Frequently asked questions

Can you receive an appraisal?

Online appraisals can be completed and emailed to potential sellers. You will note that these virtual appraisals will clearly state that they were conducted online and without the ability to physically inspect the property due to COVID-19 Level 4 restrictions – and we will endeavour to update these after a physical inspection of the property as soon as the isolation restrictions are lifted.

Can you list your property now
We have the technology and support staff in place to be able to list your property during this Alert Level 4 Period, although it may be in your best interests to wait to market your property for sale. All agency agreements, AML and marketing can be signed in preparation for a later launch date, and your listing agent can talk you through the process and advise the best way moving forward.

Marketing your home for sale

At this stage with a minimum 4 week lockdown there are to be absolutely no buyer appointments or open homes. Not to mention the impossibility of getting builders to do inspections and so on. Therefore we are encouraging some future vendors to wait before going live however there are 2 options available which your agent will discuss with you:

  • Option 1) Go live with the heading ‘Forthcoming Auction’ –  this effectively gives you a teaser campaign like we regularly use over the Christmas holidays where we have a legitimate reason to not give an end date. This allows us to gather buyer interest, qualify buyers and support them to get ready with finance etc.
  • Option 2) Wait for the 4 week (approx.) lockdown to be over knowing that there will be pent up frustration from buyers and we launch strategically after the lockdown has been lifted.

We will be on the ball here and making an educated decision alongside you.

We may reach out for permission in respect of individual marketing as we move to a more online platform to broaden the audience in readiness for when we are able to return to actively engage with your property.

Buyers who are pre-approved (and more will get pre-approved during this period) will be out looking for a home as soon as this is over and this should create some energetic competition for many properties.

Property inspections

From midnight on Wednesday evening, 25 March, you’ll be aware that there can be no physical inspection of properties and that also there will be no interaction between your agent and your property. While this brings its complexities, we will still continue to market property and, in doing so, receive enquiries on behalf of your property, which we will continue to facilitate.

Can we prepare and submit offers on properties?

Yes – sale and purchase agreements will continue to be available during this time and your agent will be able to with you in conjunction with your legal representatives on this.

Auctions

These are not considered essential services so can only take place via phone or online bidding methods. We are recommending that all current auction campaigns are extended and auction dates are rescheduled to 3 or 4 weeks post the Level 4 period.

Can real estate settlements still take place?

Many of our local solicitors have already been in contact advising us that most conditions and settlements will still be able to be actioned and proceed during this Level 4 Isolation Period.  

As conveyancing is completed online settlements may take place, however pre-settlement inspections and moving are not physically able to occur and therefore settlement and possession will probably need to be renegotiated, or deferred until the Level 4 Isolation Period ends. (The main problem being that homes are generally sold with vacant possession – which is not currently possible as moving house is not deemed ‘essential travel’ during this Level 4 period.)  

There may be situations where parties may want to settle where there is vacant land or a tenanted property (with the intention that the tenancy continues).  In these instances if parties agree, settlement may still be able to happen on the basis that searches etc. and registration can still happen through online services.  

Any settlements/agreements falling due during the Covid-19 Level 4 restriction period should be referred to the legal representatives for both buyer and seller in order for a negotiated way forward to be achieved. Close communication with your listing agent, the purchaser and the respective legal representatives will be crucial to the success of negotiation of these settlements/conditional agreements., and deferring may still be the safest option.

Rural sales and tenanted property sales

There will be situations where sales may not involve people leaving their home or any in-person contact (e.g. where a property is tenanted and the tenancy will continue after settlement) and have advised that whilst settlement can occur where no one has to have contact, purchasers and vendors may encounter difficulties when trying to get Authority & Instruction forms, mortgage instruction forms, and other legal forms issued and signed. So, deferring settlement may still be the safest option. We would strongly recommend that the parties seek and follow the advice of their solicitors and not assume settlement can or will be able to occur. Physical property inspections cannot occur when we are under Level 4 lockdown.

Conditional contracts and LIMs

Conditional contracts can still be confirmed during this time; however should a condition not be able to be met due to the restrictions under the Alert Level 4 period (examples would be the inability to conduct a property inspection and building inspections), then the buyer and seller would need to advise their legal representatives and either extend the condition until after the lockdown, or cancel the contract. The party’s lawyers will make appropriate amendments to the contract to facilitate this.

We have however been advised by Whangarei District Council that  LIM processing is not able to be completed as some file records are still in paper and will not be able to be accessed during this period.  (If purchasing, we would still suggest filing a request for a LIM  so when these are able to be processed you will already be in the queue). 

Bridging finance

Vendors/purchasers should talk to their bank or financial services provider in the first instance.

Pre-settlement inspections

These are unable to take place in person during lockdown, however, if both parties agree, these could take place using video conferencing.

Anti-Money Laundering

Department of Internal Affairs is working on guidance as to if and how verification can occur during Level 4 Isolation. 

Moving in to your new home

With moving house probably not defined as ‘necessary travel’ during Stage 4 lockdowns, we suggest deferring settlement dates with your solicitor.

Your best point of contact

Your best point of contact will remain your listing agent.  We’ll continue to let your agent communicate directly to you on any updates specific to your current situation and by your desired communication preferences so please reach out to them if you have any queries or concerns – however small you feel they may be.

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