It’s 6.00 pm Saturday and our week has finished a lot better than it has for many others. We genuinely feel for you out there.

Today in high-end we are focussing on;

  1. What has happened in the market this year
  2. What is happening right now
  3. Our short and longer-term futures with Inner Melbourne Property.

We will do it entirely from our own perspective and you can take as little or as much as you want from this article.

Q: So where is James Buy Sell at right now?

A: We are on pause for 2 weeks.

Meaning unless a current client is finishing off a transaction, then our cue is in the rack until after Easter.

Q: Why are you on pause when the market is seemingly going pretty well?

A: It’s not so much about a shortage of or a shortage of – or even a shortage of willingness on our part – it’s about a shortage of certainty.

Our pause is until Easter and then we will review and we are only talking about new clients who want to buy or sell.

We are still operating for existing and past clients and past client referrals.

Our new client pause is for two reasons;

  1. Government requests about essential travel only from home and the health of our clients, ourselves and our community.
  2. We don’t yet know what is the best course post-Easter so we feel we cannot guide new buying or new selling clients who wish to embark on a campaign. Our best advice for sellers remains on hold indefinitely unless you would achieve a favourable changeover through a buy/sell. Our best advice for buyers is be clear on your options and processes – buying is fine if it all makes sense and this is the home you really, really want.

Buying or selling a home is, for almost all our clients, a major life-affecting, financial, physical and emotional process and outcome.

Therefore, our overall advice needs to be right. And at the moment, we don’t know what will be right in 6 weeks time, so we are pausing and reviewing. This is our basic overall advice.

We hope our advice is clear.

By all means, finish a buy or sell campaign.

However, for potential new buy and sell campaigns – pause for now until Easter. Review again before you make a decision.

It seems very negative and counter to what has happened in the last month and what the PM wants us to do? But we don’t think so and;

here are three reasons why we are on pause until Easter:

  1. The real estate systems are unclear – ie, the health of those around us

  2. The $ viability of those who would be involved in the campaigns

  3. Momentum losses/emotional decision making on Stop Start campaigns.

Buy and Sell example:

Which profession outside health and food workers still operating, would have the greatest chance of being infected and or infecting others? Is it real estate agents moving from home to home? Yes, this is our assessment, rightly or wrongly. It’s fine if you disagree, by all means, act appropriately for your circumstances.

What’s to stop a buyer having inspected a home and either innocently or maliciously informing the agent they may be Covid-19 positive and this shuts the campaign down? And what if that same person then offered on the home? What happens to the owners if they lived there and if they were elderly and if it was true?

Or in these desperate times for many, what happens if the seller does not inform buyers accurately of their health status, due to their financial necessity to sell? We have seen numerous examples of people doing the wrong thing – as they feel all this doesn’t affect them

Two real-life examples;

This week we knocked back an inspection of our client’s home ($6m sell) until further information – that further information never came back.

This week we had to postpone a pre-selling campaign we are involved with, due to an ethical owner, for at least two weeks.

It’s very real and very now.

Social/Physical distancing with Chris Daly – this week we signed  on behalf of our clients – on the bonnet of a car – with our own pens and no kissing!

Where is the market right now?

The market has finished strongly for us with 4 from 5 buy/sells in the last week. Port Melbourne (David Lack), Kew (Walter Dodich), Carnegie (Ari Levin), Hampton Off-market (Angus Graham) and Hawthorn East (Chris Daly). We did not trade today.

In the last week, we have received hundreds of emails – yes hundreds – on new campaigns. We have visited none.

For us, before we progress (if allowed to) we want to see the market settle.

We want to more clearly understand what the longer-term rules are (if any) going forward.

How do you move furniture in or out, as a buyer and/or seller?

How do you give and receive notice as a tenant/landlord?

What about a buyer’s ability to settle – what are the rules if the banks change their minds?

Who can and who cannot attend private inspections and settlements in relation to Covid-19?

Where is price really at?

This is our opinion on price discounting right now.

This is where the High-End Melbourne market was at the end of February

This is where we think the High-End Melbourne market is at the end of March

We are a big believer in the future of Inner Melbourne real estate and we can’t show this any more than by our commitment to remain open for discussion – even if we are not open for inspection. If trading halts (we will remain open) and our company will essentially remain as is – no retrenchments.

This is what we have done in the last month;

  • We stopped going to general open for inspections a month ago.
  • We stopped auction reporting a month ago.
  • We went into “lockdown” two weeks ago – except for Mal inspecting properties for purchase, for sale or for settlement.

Yet we still have had our best February ever and a very solid March.

To date, it has been possible to do business under Stage 2 safely.

This week, whilst finishing jobs our company has discussed the following;

  • Business as Unusual
  • Share the pain, share the gain
  • Everybody gets to the other side

All staff and principals have agreed to a similar 60% pay cut beginning now.

We have also agreed to 40% of normal hours.

We now have zoom meetings Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 12 noon. Checking in with each other, projects to improve and of course, client management.

All contractors we can no longer use – will receive something to stay connected. All key contractors like IT etc have worked out satisfactory compromises with us. The only contractor not willing to help has been Telstra.

All finance/car/office leases are being or have been renegotiated.

Our intention is to not shed staff but to work through government packages (except Newstart) and to be bigger and brighter on the other side.

Agents, Clients, Anybody.

We are here to help if you need to talk.

You can get through this – I have already been able to suspend bank payments – yes, I have to pay more – but at least I will be here to do that.

  • Your health and can we say your family’s health (from your work, not going out as much) is important
  • Cashflow (cutting expenditure) is important
  • Connection and belief in the future are important

Mal’s phone number is 0408 107 988 or Gina’s is 0457 835 255 and we are happy to talk or listen.

You can get through this if you stay healthy – mentally and physically.

So when interacting, we believe Clarity before Action in 2020

To reduce any wasted meetings, minimise negative health contacts and to follow government guidelines.

We have guidelines (these may of course change) on how we interact on behalf of our buying and selling clients.

All of which we believe will give them and us and you a better buy or sell outcome.

We have isolated our virus buy and sell guidelines to

For the latest Coronavirus guidelines on how we buy and sell real estate.

Even though this is going to hurt our business, we support strongly our PM, our opposition, the National cabinet, our leader Dan Andrews and the medical CMO’s. Thank you to all our doctors, nurses, and other essential service workers like cleaners, truck drivers and those on the checkouts. Thank you.

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