Will we still be doing virtual viewings after lockdown?
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
As the country starts to emerge from lockdown, it’s clear that everyone will be moving at their own pace — and that’s as true in the housing market as it is anywhere else. Zoom calls and Teams meetings have become part of our daily life and, even though in-person home viewings were allowed throughout the last lockdown, some people turned to virtual viewings to feel safer and more secure during the pandemic.
And it doesn’t look like that will change — just as there was a blend of virtual and in-person viewings before lockdown ended, we expect to see the virtual viewings sticking around for the foreseeable future. So how can you make the most of them?
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 — with a handy app and an online hub, plus virtual viewings. Jonathan Magill, the UK Network Director for Strike, gave us some top tips from Strike on when (and how) virtual viewings work best.
Most people will want an in-person viewing, but virtual viewings can help narrow the field
Although virtual viewings are popular, whether you’re buying or selling you should still expect an in-person viewing to be part of the process. It’s a huge decision, after all, and for most of us it’s the biggest purchase we’ll ever make — so wanting to see a potential new home in person is a no-brainer. But while many people are still limiting their indoor mixing, virtual viewings are a great way to see if you’re serious about a home.
“I think most people view them as a ‘whittling down’ exercise rather than using them to make a final buying decision,” Magill explains. You can view as many properties online as you like and then pick the top contenders to view in person. For sellers, that means you want to make your virtual viewings count.
Don’t skimp on the setup
“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’ll also want to make sure your home is looking its best on screen. Take away any clutter and try to use your furniture to show the potential of the room. Open up curtains and blinds to maximize your lighting — and be mindful of what areas you’re showing the viewer. Do a test run on your phone to see what angles make the room look the brightest onscreen and what dark corners to avoid.
Pre-recorded tours are an option
Strike recommends hosting your viewing for a personal touch — but if you’re worried about wifi or other practicalities, you may want to think about a pre-recorded video. But sometimes sharing these can be tricky.
“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.
Remember that 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 your house a home.
If you’re doing a live video, make sure you’re making the buyer as 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 should you expect to be doing a lot of virtual viewing now that lockdown is easing? Every buyer will have different needs, but it’s definitely important to be able to give them the option of a virtual viewing if they don’t want to view in person. A little preparation with your internet and room setup will go a long way, but — just like an in-person viewing — showing your enthusiasm for your home is key. Making it clear what makes your home so special can make all the difference, whether you’re in person or online.
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