Over a seven week period in Spring the property market was in total lockdown and the only way potential tenants were able to view properties was via their phone or computer. This was the one innovation that kept us going and as a result we let 67% more properties during this lockdown period than the same period the previous year.
Since then, physical viewings have returned to normal but further restrictions due to a growing number of Covid-19 infections may now mean that a change forced by necessity may become the normal method of viewing properties in the not too distant future, and begs the question, could virtual viewings become the only viewings?
There are a few different forms the video viewing can take, from the self guided 360° virtual tours using professional software such as Matterport, to having the current tenant put together a short pre-recorded video of the property with commentary throughout. As professional as the 360° virtual tours are, due to the suddenness of the Covid-19 situation, it was the latter that we had so much success with during the previous lockdown period.
Overall, both letting and estate agents have reported that virtual viewings of all forms will at the very least increase interest in a property. Helen Whitely, commercial director of OnTheMarket which recently added a search facility for videos and virtual tours, said: "During analysis of OnTheMarket data, we found that users who engaged with a video were over 200% more likely to send an enquirey."
Over the past couple of months we at Redbrick Properties have invested heavily in 360° Virtual Tour software and hardware. Filming can take between two to three hours but the end product is more than worth it. An example is this seven bed student property in Hyde Park which we were recently asked to film for one of our Let-Only landlords. I think you will agree is it worth the time and money invested.
It is unclear what the future will hold for viewings, but with the student letting season around the corner and household restrictions getting tighter each month, we need to be prepared for the eventuality that, at least for now, physical viewings may become a thing of the past.