13 May 2020

The real estate technologies most likely to survive COVID-19

Media Release

Buyers agents weigh into the technologies most likely to survive the effects of the coronavirus and those that won’t.

With widespread bans on public auctions and open for inspections in recent months, the real estate industry has had to rethink the more traditional methods of buying and selling property.

But how will COVID-19 reshape the Australian property market?

Real Estate Buyers Agents Association (REBAA) president Cate Bakos said with restrictions easing in NSW, VIC and more anticipated in other states of Australia, homebuyers and investors were likely to see a strong return to public auctions and open homes.

“Online auctions will probably reduce, but they won’t be totally gone for good,” she said.

“There is a definite place for online auctions but nothing replaces the theatre and the energy of a live auction.

“A public auction not only gives the auctioneer the opportunity to read the crowd and a real estate agent to work the crowd, but it also allows buyers to experience the auction in a purely transparent way without internet connection risks.

“It’s a win-win for buyers and sellers that I don’t believe you will ever be able to match from behind a screen.”

Ms Bakos said online platforms around property settlements and contracts were here to stay and major bonus for the buyers.

Technologies around VOI (Verification of Identity) and online settlement platforms such as PEXA, had revolutionised the buying process.

“This is a moment in time that has fast-tracked the way we buy property,” she said.

“Solicitors can now ID buyers using zoom or video conferencing technologies and when things are back to normal, I predict it will be one of those things buyers look for in a conveyancing solicitor.”

Here a REBAA’s winners and losers in the COVID-19 digital age of property:


Online property settlements

Property settlement platforms such as PEXA have moved conveyancing online. It allows buyers to purchase property remotely and transfer bank and trust account details safely, removing the need for solicitors to use paperwork and mitigating any risk of succumbing to an email phishing attack.

Verification of Identity

As a direct result of COVID-19, face-to-face verification of identity and client authorisation forms are not mandatory with solicitors now using video technology as part of the verification of identity process. This has been a major boost to easing pre-settlement challenges and hopefully is here to stay.


Online auctions

While not gone for good, public auctions are tipped to continue to be the preferred method of sale for buyers and sellers alike. A win-win for both parties as they allow full transparency without the added anxiety of a computer glitch!

Virtual inspections

Similar to online auctions, while virtual inspections will be one of the tools in the real estate agent’s toolkit, they should not replace the physical open for inspection. They should never be relied on solely and if you can’t inspect the property in person, then hire a buyer’s agent or advocate to do it on your behalf. A half hour inspection could cost you handsomely in the long run.