There are actually some very good reasons to keep your residential property listing active during the 3-week nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, says Tony Clarke, managing director of the Rawson Property Group.
"Firstly, buyers will not be making the rounds to showhouses during this time, but they're definitely going to have plenty of time to browse online listings while keeping their distance at home," explains Clarke.
"If your listing is attractive, informative and priced accurately for the current climate, there is every chance you could keep getting enquiries – particularly since there's likely to be less competition over this time."
Furthermore, technology enables property experts to value a home digitally, he adds.
Despite current circumstances, real estate agents are still seeing sellers and buyers move forward with their plans to buy and sell homes, according to Adrian Goslett, regional director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
"People may be doing life differently, but, especially after the announcement to lower interest rates by a full 1%, the demand to buy, sell, and rent a home does still exist," says Goslett.
Yet, even with willing sellers and buyers, the current lockdown bans non-essential interactions with clients, which, in his view, means that selling a home will look different than in years past.
"By leveraging technology, there are still ways for real estate agents to interact with listing clients and potential buyers," says Goslett.
He expects many home tours will become virtual. This is not entirely something new and has already been used as a tool in marketing a home for some time.
For those who would rather wait until the coronavirus crisis passes before listing their home, Goslett explains that there are things that can be done during the lockdown.
"If you can get your hands on some hardware supplies, start doing touch-ups around the house, like painting over scuff marks or fixing broken door hinges," he suggests.
"You could also begin packing your personal belongings into boxes to be stored in your garage or some other unused space. Spending time getting your outdoor area cleaned up and landscaping prepared will also prove useful. That way, as soon as we return to a more normalised market, you are ready to show your home." If you do decide to go ahead with a sale, Goslett, expect that delays might occur around the transfer and registration process during the lockdown period, especially if the Deeds Offices shutdown.
"Buyers will have to sign the OTP with a suspensive condition that stipulates that the transfer will only go ahead once it has passed a home inspection," he explains. For Crispin Inglis, CEO of PropertyFox, considering what is already known about the coronavirus, the impact of the recently (lowered) interest rate alone won't be enough to relieve the economic climate.
"That, in conjunction with the bold steps President Cyril Ramaphosa has encouraged South Africans to take (during the lockdown) will be the important first steps required to resuscitate the real estate market," says Inglis.
His advice for homeowners is to use this time to understand the value of your home since there are ways to determine it online.
Bernard Wiese of Cape Coastal Homes/City Country Homes, says they have already done quite a variety of 3D scans of some of their mandates and put them online.
He too expects the lockdown to have a serious spill-over effect on the registration of all property sales – as the Deeds Office will also be closed and no new lodgements were accepted as from Tuesday until further notice.