2020 has been a whirlwind, with the Coronavirus pandemic the main concern worldwide. One thing that has become increasingly popular is virtual house hunting, which is quickly becoming the 'new normal' in terms of property viewings. Some estate agents have even offered to send buyers headsets so that they can take a virtual tour and seeing as it's unlikely this new way of house hunting will die down, we thought we'd share everything you need to know about it.
1. This technology isn't new
Virtual househunting has actually been around for 3-4 year but until now there's been no real incentive to use it. They have certainly become more popular since the virus outbreak and standalone headset sales are expected to rise 22.5% in 2020, to a global 2.8 million. You can pick up a headset pretty cheap, like Google's cardboard viewer that is available online for around £3.
Some estate agents have already jumped to close this gap, filming virtual viewings and making them available on YouTube for people to watch - although using the headset is much more realistic.
2. Virtual viewings are proving a huge time saver
Not only does it save time for estate agents, but it also keeps everyone safer. The whole process is made more time efficient for buyers, agents and vendors. A survey conducted by Purple Bricks found that out of the 2000 adults surveyed, 1/3 were happy to judge a property from an online viewing only. On average, a virtual viewing takes around 26 minutes. This saves a huge amount of time when you factor in making sure everyone is available for the viewing, plus travelling to get there and back. It can also help to identify the serious buyers with those who like the virtual viewing being more likely to book a personal viewing.
3. It also benefits the estate agent
We've already stated how it helps to identify the serious viewers, which is a big bonus. However, it also gives the estate agent a better way to sell. Proper investment into virtual viewing could prove a better option than producing and updating endless brochures and floor plans in some instances. At the moment, just 8% of Zoopla's listings have an option for a virtual tour, however we expect this to change very quickly as there are a lot of pros to virtual viewings.
4. Huge benefits for the international client
If you are looking to move overseas, a virtual viewing might just be perfect for you. This will help save on travel expenses that could effectively be wasted if you decide not to buy. Many are treating house-buying like online shopping, meaning you can do lots of virtual viewings and whittle your list down before going to all the effort of physically viewing a property. Plus, many have noted how virtual tours often give much more detail in comparison to standard photos on the estate agent's website.
5. It's good for the seller as well as the buyer
This is great for sellers as the valuation process can also be done online via a virtual viewing, meaning it's less time consuming for them. They won't have to leave the property every time there is a viewing taking place or be involved in the viewing process at all! Win win.
Overall, it's been a pretty wild year for the property market but many people are taking advantage of some of the relief that has been provided and also using this time to make a change.
So go on, give a virtual viewing a go. Even if it's just for the headset!
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Normette Homes specialise in property investment and tenant sourcing.