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Buying property during COVID-19 alert level 2

By Roxanne Pienaar
This page explains the process of buying a property during COVID-19 alert level 2.
Summary of activity at alert level 2
  • You can attend open homes, private viewings and auctions at alert level 2 if requirements for gatherings, hygiene, physical distancing and contact tracing are followed.
  • You can travel between regions to attend open homes and auctions but consider using phone and video where possible.
  • Property inspectors, valuers, engineers and tradespeople can visit properties at any time during alert level 2, with the consent of the property occupants.
  • Buyers and sellers who deferred settlement during alert levels 4 and 3 may now settle if both parties agree.
  • During alert level 2, buyers and sellers can move house (including between regions).
  • If you’re buying a tenanted property, you may be affected by the new protections against terminations during this time. For more information, visit the Tenancy Services website.
  • Some law firms and agents are still working remotely, and this may cause delays.
  • You can find information about staying safe and well at alert level 2 on the COVID-19 website.

Health guidelines

  • Keep at least 1-metre away from anyone you don’t know, both inside and outside.
  • Don’t visit a property if the occupants are unwell, are self-isolating or have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
  • Don’t visit a property if you or anyone you have been in contact with are unwell, are self-isolating or have been in contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
  • Limit the number of people visiting a property to ensure physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Give the full contact details of everyone who is visiting a property to the agent in case these are needed for contact tracing.
  • Sanitise your hands before entering and after leaving a property.
  • If you are an at-risk person (for example, you are over 70 or have a pre-existing medical condition), you are encouraged to do as much as you can by phone or video call rather than in person.

Visiting a real estate office

At alert level 2, our offices are open, and you can visit to talk to agents or sign contracts. You will need to follow the health guidelines above, including maintaining 1-metre physical distancing and hygiene etiquette. You will be asked to provide your contact details for contact tracing or utilise the Government tracing app to sign in and out.

Open homes and private viewings

Open homes and private viewings are allowed at alert level 2. Make sure you follow the health guidelines above, including maintaining 1-metre physical distancing and hygiene etiquette.

If you attend an open home, the agent will make sure there are measures in place to allow for physical distancing considering the layout and size of a property, for example, staggering entry to the property and managing queues.

Making an offer

Inspecting the property

You may want to have the property inspected by a professional (for example, a valuer or builder) before you put in an offer to buy the property. At alert level 2, professionals can visit a property if the seller and property occupants agree. Contact the agent to arrange a time for your professional to visit.

Making the offer and signing the agreement

When you’re ready to make an offer, the agent will work with you to put the terms and conditions you would like into your offer (the sale and purchase agreement). At alert level 2, the agent may suggest explaining the sale and purchase agreement by phone or video call rather than in person.

We recommend your lawyer or conveyancer checks the agreement before you sign it to make sure it includes all the protection you need. Your lawyer or conveyancer might also suggest including conditions in your offer to protect you against changes in COVID-19 alert levels.

You can then meet the agent in person to sign the sale and purchase agreement, as long as you maintain a physical distance of 2 metres. We suggest you take your own pen.

Meeting conditions

If you’re making an offer that is conditional on a professional inspecting the property, keep in mind that these professionals had restrictions on visiting properties at alert levels 3 and 4. There could be high demand for their services and making an appointment may be difficult. Before you make an offer, check with your professional about any delays in their service so you can give yourself enough time to meet your conditions.

Read more about making an offer, sale and purchase agreements and conditions here.

Pre-settlement inspections and settlement

At alert level 2, you are able to do a pre-settlement inspection. Make sure you follow the health guidelines above. On settlement day, the agent should arrange for you to receive sanitised keys and garage door remotes by contactless delivery.

Read more about pre-settlement inspections here. Read more about what you can expect on settlement day here.

Tenanted properties

If the property you are buying is tenanted, the sale may be affected by the new protections against terminations which are explained on the Tenancy Services website.

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