Property Tech and Virtual Viewings - the new normal?
22 June 2020

As the housing market is steadily improving, estate agents and property owners are looking for new ways to manage the impact of Coronavirus on their livelihoods. And one such way is the use of VR/360 technology as well as virtual tours.  

 

 
What is VR/360 tech?

VR stands for Virtual Reality and 360 technology is used to capture full 360-degree imagery of a space. This is not he VR you might see in movies, and where you could see experiences of at tech events, instead this is an immersive video or static image filmed by a camera which can capture a view in all directions at the same time. The user wears a headset which allows them to view a smartphone screen so they can turn their head to view a whole room on a video. If you don’t have a headset, you can also use your finger (or mouse on a desktop) to “pan” the camera by tapping/clicking and dragging the video.  

How can we use this for the housing market?

It takes on average 25 viewings per property to sell a home, the majority of which won't put in an offer. It is time consuming for both the home-owner and the agents involved, and costly for the agency. VR/360 tech can help weed out the weaker opportunities by allowing the potential buyer/renter to “view” the property from their current home/work, or at the agent’s office.

By offering multiple “viewings” in one sitting, a potential buyer/renter could look at 10 properties in a short in-office meeting, or if the videos are readily available online, view the properties from their current home, thus reducing travel time, agency time and other associated costs. They’ll be able to create a shortlist for in-person visits which are much more prequalified and more likely to result in an offer.  

 

 
What about the negatives?

Currently the tech is not always utilised by mainstream letting agencies, but COVID may just change all that! Cost is an issue however, as professional 360/VR videographers are expensive, but there are cheaper alternatives which are making their way to market. We could start seeing this as the norm, following the Coronavirus outbreak, for smaller letting agencies and estate agents to purchase this tech in-house and use to reduce costs overall.

This technology has repercussions on all areas of the business however, not only potentially making the viewing process quicker and more efficient at the start of the purchasing/renting journey, but also potentially changing the way in which viewings take place and listings are created in full. This may impact the ways in which agents perform their usual tasks, but the need for quality salespeople will still remain, especially as they provide essential support before and following an offer.  

 

 
What can you do now?

For now, without investing heavily in this technology in-house, consider employing, or partnering with, a professional team who can offer this service. It’s a great way of reducing the impact of social distancing measures. If this isn’t for you, start with arranging a video tour of properties to help with viewings. Provide important information in the video tour such as the size of the room, included white goods and key features. If possible, get a salesperson to carry out the video tour as they are more used to the right tone and terminology but, if you can’t, current tenants/property owners can do the video too.  



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