You will likely have seen on social media the promotion of virtual appraisals in response to COVID-19 and the level 4 lock-down. Offering virtual appraisals is a great way to engage with potential vendors with the possibility of securing listing opportunities post-lock-down.
The REA states that under ‘exceptional circumstances’ an agent can conduct an appraisal without viewing the property. We have sought clarification on this and COVID-19 level 4 has been deemed an ‘exceptional circumstance’.
REA recognises that licensees are working in times of exceptional circumstances and there may need to be workarounds to usual best practice. However, licensees run the risk that any workarounds may not be adequate despite the exceptional circumstances. It’s important to maintain standards, and if you can’t, you shouldn’t go ahead with the appraisal. In considering whether licensees are able to meet the standards when completing an appraisal, it is important to ensure:
- licensees have gathered as much information as possible from a range of sources
- specific questions have been asked of the vendor around the condition of the property
- any conversations are documented with the vendor. The vendor would need to understand the impact of the licensee not visiting the property to complete the appraisal; and
- what conversations are had (and documented) with potential buyers. Potential buyers also need to understand that the licensee has not physically visited the property they are listing for sale. This may have an impact on the licensee’s ability to identify defects.
An updated appraisal could be prepared as soon as possible after the end of alert level 4 lockdown as well.
As we settle into the new ‘normal’ under lockdown, many homeowners will have a lot more time on their hands for researching property online. Some will need to sell, others will be considering their current arrangements perhaps with a complete lifestyle change in mind, or a move to be closer to family.
To make your virtual appraisal stand out, go the extra mile and suggest the homeowner takes you on a video walk-through of their home, also have them send through images from their phone, so you can refer to these while you compile their appraisal document.
Creating that personal connection, through the video and image exchange with the homeowner will increase your chances of securing the listing when they are ready to list.
When putting together a virtual appraisal the homes.co.nz HomesEstimate is a great reference point. Premium Agents are also invited to submit their CMAs to contribute towards a homes.co.nz HomesEstimate. To do this, email the property address and appraisal range to firstname.lastname@example.org or upload it via the Premium Agent App. This will trigger the algorithm calculation to be run on that particular property, and any adjustment required to the HomesEstimate will show within 48 hours.
To help let more homeowners know about ‘virtuals appraisals’ during this time, we’re going to be changing the current wording across the website from ‘get a free property appraisal’ to ‘get a free virtual appraisal’.