PETALING JAYA (March 25): Real estate agents and negotiators are facing challenges working from home during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period being enforced to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak in Malaysia. Those who have so far relied on the traditional "show and tell" have no choice but to rely more on the internet now. 

“Buyers wish to view the properties but are unable to do so. Certain procedures such as title searches, loan eligibility and more are delayed due to the current MCO. These made it hard for our members to close deals,” said Muslim Real Estate Consultants Association (PEHAM) president Ishak Ismail.

He said all members of the PEHAM are in full compliance with the MCO, which began on March 18 to 31, and have made the necessary business continuity arrangements.

“These days we have been extensively planning our businesses including updating our clients’ property listings, preparing marketing presentations and business reports.

“I have also advised members to adopt online methods such as using our smart agents’ system (jointly developed with a private developer) for co-agency arrangements and online advertisements,” said Ishak.

The association will soon be organising online forums and interactive learning programmes to update members on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to better understand the fiscal stimulus package announced by the government and to study its impact.

“This pandemic and the global economic downturn will surely affect the property market negatively. Property transactions, be it buying, renting and even auctioning, will slow down. During these two weeks of MCO, many people will lose their incomes or be forced to take unpaid leave.

“Should the MCO be extended, real estate agents who work on a commission basis will be greatly affected. As such, we hope the government will help the property industry in light of the slower demand in the residential and commercial sectors.

“I would also advise our members to stay calm in these difficult times,” said Ishak, who also called on landlords not to penalise tenants over late rental payments and utility companies not to cut supply for overdue bill payments.

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