The first half of 2020 has been extremely challenging for the industry as a whole. At WBP Group, we’ve been able to adapt quickly to accommodate our customers’ needs throughout COVID-19, including offering virtual valuations. We realise this is a long term prospect and we are continuing to find innovative ways to support our customers. Now, Talisa Harris gives us a valuer’s perspective on dealing with COVID-19.

Talisa started working with WBP Group as a cadet in March 2017 and moved to the role of Residential Property Valuer in July 2018. Talisa works in the outer south-eastern suburbs of Victoria and through the Dandenong Ranges. As a dedicated valuer, she thrives on the constant learning and personal growth in her position.

“WBP has a great culture and team environment. Everyone is very friendly, supportive and willing to help whenever needed”

We asked Talisa how she is managing in the current climate and her advice for clients during COVID-19.

How has your day-to-day job changed recently?

The day-to-day job has not changed a great deal. We are more mindful of how long we are in someone’s house and consciously follow our processes around health and safety. There are a few changes in the way inspections are conducted, especially with the introduction of virtual valuations. The implementation of the new system was a fast and thorough process. It was a great learning experience.

What changes have you seen in the property market in your area in the last few months?

What’s encouraging is that over the last few months, I have not seen any noticeable changes to value in the property market. Initially, there were less sales occurring and the time on market had increased. However, over the last few weeks to a month there has been an increase in the sales occurring and reduction in time on the market. The sales prices have remained constant.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, people were unsure of how the coming events would impact the market, so they were tentative to make changes. As restrictions became the norm, many were given the time to consider their investments and plan for the future. There has been a fluctuation between high and low demand given the sense of uncertainty that many were facing.

What changes do you expect to see in long term as a result of COVID?

In the long term I expect to see an increased reliance on technology, connecting the client and valuer remotely. There will also be increased pressure on lenders and mortgage insurers to also adapt to digital valuations.

From a valuation perspective, what is the best way forward when it comes to managing the current crisis?

It definitely depends on the specific situation and I would advise individuals to consult their financial lender or broker to get information tailored to how the crisis may affect their personal circumstance. From the perspective of operations, the current crisis should not affect the client’s ability to receive an accurate valuation.

What is the general feel amongst valuers in the industry at the moment?

The general sentiment amongst valuers in the industry is a sense of gratitude to be able to continue to support clients. There’s an element of planning. We now expect the unexpected. It is reassuring to be supported by a workplace putting in strong measures to keep all parties safe.

What are the current challenges and what is your advice to overcome them?

Staying up to date with the market due to its current uncertainty is proving challenging for many within the industry. To navigate this, it’s important to stay updated across market reports, industry insights and to regularly speak with your local agents. Another challenge is ensuring the client is comfortable having us at their property. Communication is key in making sure the applicant’s individual needs are considered. Being well prepared with necessary protective equipment and adhering to the correct safety procedures will help you as a valuer achieve client satisfaction.

We will come out the other side more skilled and experienced. Our main priority is the health and wellbeing of ourselves and our clients. As an industry, we are resilient and adaptable to change. COVID-19 and its ramifications are no exception.

For more on how we are dealing with COVID-19, click here or contact us today to find out how we can assist you with your property needs.