Buying a Property

Using virtual property viewings to rent or sell your property

The introduction of modern technology in this area has increased the expectations of potential tenants/buyers. It is therefore essential that you offer a professional presentation. An amateurish attempt at a virtual property viewing service could seriously backfire, you have been warned!

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Using virtual property viewings to rent or sell your property

Using virtual property viewings to rent or sell your property: your questions answered

  • What is a virtual property viewing?

    A virtual property viewing gives you (or for a prospective buyer or tenant) the opportunity to view a property. This may be facilitated by way of a virtual walkthrough of the property, or more commonly via a detailed video taken by a lettings or estate agent.

  • What types of virtual property viewings are available?

    A virtual property viewing may take several forms, including a 3D walkthrough, video walkabout, or a virtual appointment, whereby you or an agent is in the house and walks through a prospective buyer or tenant while on a video call.

  • Do virtual property viewings work?

    While nothing will ever beat being able to view a property in person, research from OnTheMarket highlighted that buyers and tenants who engage with a video are over 200% more likely to make an enquiry. Even as we move out of the pandemic, having a virtual viewing option could make a huge difference!

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The introduction of modern technology in this area has increased the expectations of potential tenants/buyers. It is therefore essential that you offer a professional presentation. An amateurish attempt at a virtual property viewing service could seriously backfire, you have been warned!

Widen your pool of potential tenants or buyers

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on the UK property market. Many private landlords are struggling with mortgage payments; tenants are falling behind with rent, and debts are mounting. If you're looking to attract a tenant or sell your property, you must be visible to as vast a pool of interested parties as possible. 

A virtual property viewing allows you to retain tight control of what you present and how you do so. You can therefore display your property at its best, hopefully attracting an increased number of interested parties.

What are virtual property viewings?

A virtual property viewing allows potential tenants or buyers to as good as set foot in your property, without actually being there. Depending upon the type of technology you are using, they can literally walk through your property. Some services give the option to stop and look at different rooms, even take measurements, and control camera movements. However, there are also more basic services available which can still widen the pool of potentially interested parties.

What types of virtual property viewings are available?

As there is a need to maintain as professional an approach as possible, it is advisable to work with an estate agent or expert in this area of technology. There are three main options which include:

3D virtual house tours

The best way to describe a 3D virtual house tour is akin to the Google Street View experience. Remember the days of the Google video cars gathering information for the Google virtual tours? This type of technology is now more readily available today. It is now possible to create a 3D walk-through of your property, allowing “visitors” to enter each room and take in a panoramic view.

Modern technology will even allow visitors to zoom in and out of particular areas of your property. Indeed, property portal Zoopla has a service which enables you to take measurements as you move through the property!

Video walkabout

When you compare a video walkabout option against the 3D virtual house tours, it may set alarm bells ringing. Is this really the right option to show your property in its best light?

Editing suites now allow you to create an extremely professional presentation even from basic video footage. Yes, video footage may not compare to the all singing all dancing 3D virtual house tours, but it is much cheaper. You can also retain a high degree of control over what the viewer sees, allowing you to showcase your property's more prominent elements.

Virtual appointments

The beauty of 3D virtual house tours and video walkabouts is that you can post them online so that people can view them 24/7. However, some tenants and buyers may prefer a virtual appointment which tends to be more personal.

It is merely a case of using a booking system to allocate timeslots to each potential tenant or buyer. Using online conferencing software such as Zoom, you (or your agent) can walk around the property using the camera on your mobile phone or tablet. Visitors will be able to direct you to areas of interest; you can also offer a running commentary and answer any questions they may have. Virtual appointments are exciting and certainly a more personal service than 3D virtual house tours and video walkabouts.

Maximising the impact of a virtual property viewing

Even when using the latest technology, you should take some actions to showcase your property. These include:

Plan your route

The more professional your virtual viewing appears, the better the impression, and the more chance of attracting tenants or buyers. As a consequence, you should consider writing a script which will include directions and commentary where applicable. Everything needs to run like clockwork; you will only get one chance to showcase your property!

Carry out a deep clean

A clinically clean home may not look “right," but your house must be as clean as possible. While there are many benefits to using new virtual viewing technology, there is one major downside; dirt will be more visible. 

Let there be light

Image is everything in the modern era, even when showcasing your home. It is, therefore, imperative to let light into your property when creating a virtual viewing experience. There is nothing more off-putting than a lack of lighting, dark areas and difficult visibility. Let there be light!

Questions and answers

In reality, you could take days or weeks putting together your virtual tour, but you will never cover everything. Consequently, it is crucial to ensure that those hosting a virtual tour leave time for questions and answers. You want every potential tenant or buyer to leave the viewing with all of the answers they need. No uncertainty, no grey areas and no stone unturned.

If you have a 3D virtual tour or video presentation, you should include frequently asked questions with the online link.

Does this really increase conversions?

For many people, virtual viewings are the only options available during the COVID pandemic. Interestingly, there is evidence to show that they do increase conversions. Helen Whiteley, commercial director of property portal OnTheMarket, recently confirmed: “Users who engage with a video are over 200% more likely to send an enquiry."

Enquiry numbers will be conditional on a professional presentation but, all being well, there is potential to increase competition amongst potential tenants and buyers. Competition is the key!

Charlotte Anstee from Ocean Estate Agents told Pension Times: “We find virtual property viewings make it more accessible, opening your property up to a wider audience. One example of this is geographical, if someone is moving to a new area it can be hard to travel for viewings by having the option of a virtual viewing people can shortlist which properties they’ll want to view in person”

Virtual property viewings are the future

Virtual property viewings are not a new concept for the UK property market. However, there has been an enormous increase in third-party engagement during the Covid-19 pandemic. Physical viewings will always be the ideal choice, but this is not always possible. The use of virtual viewing technology has the potential to significantly expand your pool of possible tenants or buyers - perhaps even more so during these difficult times.

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