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Virtual viewings proved a Godsend for overseas buyers who didn’t want to wait until travel restrictions eased. Could they stay with us for the long term?
The COVID-19 crisis saw our entire society achieve a remarkable transformation. In the blink of an eye, we managed to adapt to a world in which all sorts of things – from work to our groceries – was done via the internet. Video conferencing software such as Zoom, which enabled work teams to continue collaborating through the pandemic, also proved to be remarkably effective for estate agents.
Virtual viewings became increasingly popular for those buyers who – for one reason or another – didn’t want to wait until they could travel again to inspect a property. As with other remote technology, many people may continue to use this option even after life returns to normal.
How virtual viewings work
Video or virtual viewings are not entirely new. Estate agents have often given people the chance to take a 3D tour of a property via their website before making an appointment. However, for the most part, these have only been supplements – rather than a replacement – for the real thing.
Images can only tell you so many things – you can’t inspect fixtures, listen for traffic noise or identify problematic smells. In other words, anyone who buys a property entirely through a virtual tour is taking a leap in the dark.
Even so, many people have done exactly that and the experience has often been surprisingly positive.
Much of that is down to the way technology has developed. Video conferencing makes it much easier for estate agents to give remotely based clients a virtual tour in much the same way as they would face to face.
As long as both sides have good internet connections and a decent smartphone they can go from room to room, asking any questions of the agents and having them zoom in on specific fixtures.
Specially designed Software such as Matterports also adds to the remote experience. These provide incredibly detailed 3D tours of properties allowing people to really focus closely on any fixtures or fittings they would like to see in more detail.
Drone footage and social media can also be used to get feedback on the surrounding area and give you a much better idea of what it will be like to live in the community.
Web based viewings
As in the office environment, therefore, digital technology has proven to be more effective than even the most ardent supporters dared to hope. It gives people a much more immersive experience than ever and while it still can’t out do the real thing, for many investors it’s more than enough.
For example, if you’re looking to purchase a property purely for investment purposes, this makes for an extremely efficient use of your time. It enables you to assess its value as an investment proposition without forking out the expense of travelling to the location to see it in person.
If you’re pressed for time, virtual viewings allow you to view many more properties in a much shorter space of time. The average viewing trip might require additional time for travel between each location. This, on the other hand, gives you everything you need without having to go there.
It can also be a useful way of planning ahead for a trip. For example, if you’re planning a viewing trip you could see a wide selection of properties before narrowing down your choice to a few candidates to see in person.
A question of trust
The biggest issue some people will have is the question of trust. If you’re seeing a property in person there is only so much an estate agent can do to cover up problems with the property. With a virtual option, you’re putting a lot of trust in their good will. For example, will they inform you of any problems with the area which you’d pick up in person but might miss in the virtual environment?
One thing estate agents can do is ensure a good sound feed. This will pick up an ambient travel noise and helps to build trust with the client that they are being upfront and honest.
So, while many investors will be desperately looking forward to the end of travel restrictions so they can see properties in person, virtual tours are likely to remain popular for the long term.
Contact us today we can help you sell your overseas property online virtually.