Do virtual property viewings work?
According to a recent poll, one in six people would consider making an offer on a house without even seeing the property in person. So, if you’re wondering if virtual property viewings work then the answer appears to be, yes, they do!
Effective or not, for the last 12 months there has been little alternative for anyone looking to move. But here we take a closer look at how virtual viewings have proved their worth in lockdown and why it looks like they could be here to stay.
What is a virtual viewing?
There are 3 different ways to view a property ‘virtually’:
- Video tours – whilst these are a useful aid, they are a marketing tool and clearly designed to sell. Pre-recorded, it’s easy for them to skirt around flaws and only focus on the ‘best bits’.
- Virtual walkthroughs – these offer a view as though you are walking through the property yourself (think being a player in your own house hunting video game). They allow you to travel around each room and swing through 360° to view the property from all angles. With no time constraints, you’re free to retrace your footsteps and take as long as you like.
- Virtual viewings – these are the new kids on the block and the closest option to a physical tour. Here viewings take the form of a video conference call either with the agent, the owner or both. The benefit of these viewings is that you can ask questions in real-time, request a close up of any areas you would like to view in more detail and have more control over what you see.
Why virtual viewings could be set to stay
In truth virtual viewings in some form have been about for a number of years…we just haven’t taken too much notice. Now both potential buyers and renters are turning to them as an effective way to find property.
Why virtual viewings are popular:
These days it’s about more than just the aesthetics of a home. Buyers are placing much more emphasis on the functionality of space and it appears we can get a pretty good feel for this virtually. Remotely viewing a property helps to remove the knee-jerk emotional response and focuses on the practicalities.
- Convenient and time-efficient
This is especially the case if you’re looking for property in a new location, a distance away from your current base. With the average virtual viewing taking just half an hour, you don’t waste any time on unnecessary travel and can use the online tour as a filtering exercise, helping to narrow down a shortlist to view in person.
It’s easier to ask (and answer!) questions with a virtual viewing. As a potential buyer you can have a list of any questions you’d like answering off screen, so you don’t need to feel self-conscious of your A4 list of queries, making sure nothing gets forgotten and jotting down notes as you go along. Similarly, for those doing the selling, you can have useful information to hand to ensure you provide clear answers to all questions and keep the meeting moving along smoothly.
Tips for online viewing
For a successful viewing here are a few useful tips to keep in mind:
- Ask for a copy of the viewing to keep. This gives you something to fall back on if things don’t quite measure up in the flesh. If you’re the seller, it’s a good idea to openly offer a recording as this helps to establish trust, and lets the potential buyer know you have nothing to hide.
- Remember that virtual tours are preferable to a pre-recorded video, providing a truer picture that is less likely to gloss over any imperfections. It also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions.
- Don’t forget outside. During your tour don’t forget to ask to see the outside of the property too – the approach to the front door, the garden and any outside space, and the garage if there is one. It’s also an idea to ask them to show the view up and down the street to provide you with a complete overview.
- Make any agreements subject to a ‘physical inspection’. Whilst viewing online is great for refining your search, if you’re committing to buying it’s still always recommended to view in person.
Get in touch with the property experts
Here at GD Legal, as leading property solicitors, we recognised the need for a forward-thinking approach to our service a number of years ago. Investing in innovative online systems to keep pace with the modern world.
Working with us you can benefit from a fully automated service that will not only keep you completely up to date on sale progress but will also allow you to read, sign and send important documents, 24/7, from wherever you are.
To find out more about what we do and how we can help you, get in touch with the team today.