5 top tips for hosting a virtual viewing
The housing market has remained open in this lockdown — and with demand for properties high, it’s definitely a seller’s market. But while restrictions are starting to lift, hosting a virtual viewing is still a great way to market your home in the pandemic. But a lot can go wrong, too — so we’ve asked the online estate agents Strike for their top tips.
March 29, 2021
4 minute read
During lockdown, the government guidance encouraged virtual viewings — at least for the first viewing — when you’re trying to sell. Sounds simple enough, after all, we’re all au fait with at least one of the many software options, whether it’s Zoom, Teams, Facetime, Whatsapp video or your app of choice. But now as lockdown measures start to ease, and more people start to open their homes to physical viewings, conducting a virtual viewing can still be a good idea. Not only does it save buyers potential time, allowing them to whittle down their selection, but it also allows all parties to continue to limit social contact.
Strike, an estate agency that will sell your home for free, has a lot of experience harnessing the power of technology to make moving easier. So we’ve asked Jonathan Magill, the UK Network Director for Strike, for tips to help maximize the potential (and limit the frustrations) of virtual viewings.
1. Wifi is everything
“The key thing really to make virtual viewings work has to be to have a good setup, i.e. the right device and good internet — there’s nothing more frustrating than a jerky picture,” Magill explains.
Having a strong connection — and a fully charged device — can make all the difference. Of course, there may be limitations to the wifi you have available — if this is the case, try to make sure as few devices are using the internet as possible. (You may need to put your other devices on aeroplane mode or pause Netflix for a while.) Try to give yourself the best chance at some smooth streaming.
2. Lighting can be tricky
Everyone wants a light, airy home — but it can be challenging to make that come across on camera. If you really want to show your home off at its best, Strike recommends maximizing your lighting. Open up the curtains and blinds and, if the sun isn’t working in your favour, you can always swap out bright bulbs for something softer to mimic natural light.
Also, be aware of where you’re standing. Do a test run on your phone to see what angles make the room look the brightest onscreen and what dark corners to avoid.
3. Show your space off
One frustration that can come up on virtual viewings is buyers struggling to get a sense of the dimensions. “Being on a small screen it can be difficult for viewers to establish size and space,” Magill, Strike’s Network Director, warns.
Having the dimensions to hand is always good, but being able to demonstrate the size of a room is even better. All of the tricks you might use for an in-person viewing — putting in a double bed or a desk to show what can fit — are even more important on camera.
4. Pre-recorded virtual tours are an option
If you’re worried about the practicalities of hosting a virtual viewing, you may want to think about a pre-recorded video — but then the problem is how to send it.
“Sending a video tour can be difficult as a lot of emails have a size limit,” Magill says. A WeTransfer link can often do the trick, but if the buyer isn’t technically-minded you may run into an issue — it’s worth checking in with your agent on the best way to share.
5. You’re still a host
Finally, even in a virtual viewing, it’s crucial to remember that you’re still “hosting”. Whether you do it live or pre-recorded, it’s more than just a walk around your house. Start and finish in your best rooms, because the beginning and end of a tour make the biggest impressions. Make sure to point out the things that you love — and what makes you house a home.
If you’re doing a live video, make sure you’re making the buyer comfortable. We all know that video calls can be more than a little awkward, but taking the time to introduce yourself, get a feel of their mood, and answer their questions can go a long way.
So, do virtual house viewings work? With a little planning and practice, you can absolutely host a great virtual viewing, even if there are a few technical hiccups along the way. They’re a great tool for homebuyers — but, even in 2021, they are probably just a part of the homebuying journey.
“I think most people view them as a ‘whittling down’ exercise rather than using them to make a final buying decision,” Magill explains. So you want to make them count. That means a solid technical setup, great lighting and, of course, a lot of enthusiasm about what makes your house feel like home.
Ready to go? Download Strike’s virtual viewing checklist to become the ultimate (virtual) host.
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