Are virtual viewings here to stay?

Agents | Thu 24 Jun 21
Our industry is one of the oldest in the world. But at the start of 2020, it had to innovate fast to keep business – and people – moving during lockdown. Thousands of renters suddenly found themselves desperate to escape the city, gain a spare room or two, move closer to family or finally get that garden they’d always dreamed of.
birds-eye view of 3 people viewing and pointing at a laptop screen

At a time when in-person viewings were off the table, online viewings became the only option. The UK’s largest online portal saw its listings with walkthrough tours up by 150%* and videos by more than 280%* since the year started. While nothing beats a real-life tour of a property when you can feel its character, explore its nooks and crannies, smell the air, see how the light fills each room and discover the local area – virtual tours come with a unique set of advantages. 

Here’s why we think virtual viewings aren’t just here to stay – they’re the future.

Virtual viewings save time and money

Is there anything more annoying than when you travel to a property to meet a potential tenant, only they don’t show up? Virtual viewings cut the risk of no-shows substantially, saving you a heap of time and money.

In-person visitors are likely warmer leads

They’ve already viewed the property online and poked around its pixels. Now they want to see it in person. You can be pretty confident if a potential renter wants to come and have a look IRL, they’re pretty keen and unlikely to stand you up, making the trip much less of a gamble with your time.

Online tours are quicker and easier for tenants too

Organising viewings around work, childcare and other commitments can add to the stress of moving for renters. Virtual tours are a great option for potential tenants, lockdown or no lockdown, because they’re much easier to fit in with their lives. As society returns to normal, solutions for the time-poor, like virtual tours, are sure to remain in demand.

Guided virtual tours increase let conversions by 8.5%**

It’s a staggering stat. But independent analysis by TwentyCi shows what a difference online viewings have had on conversion rates – an uplift of 8.5%. Perhaps even more impressively, two-thirds of tenants** signed their lease without ever setting foot in the property. That’s a considerable time and cost-saving for agents – around 90%** compared to the standard approach, according to Smart Viewing’s chief executive, Marc Haguenauer.

“What TwentyCi has brought to light is not based on anecdotes, models or sentiment, but on real-world data from out there in the field, watching real people make real decisions in real time. We’ve always believed that guided virtual viewings had a significant impact on the purchase or rental of a property – now we have proof.”

You open up your pool of tenants, potentially speeding up the process

The best tenant for your landlord’s property might not be down the road. They might not even be in the country. Virtual tours are a fantastic way to open up your pool of tenants to even more of the best renters out there. Plus, with even more people able to view a property, the quicker it’s likely to let.

It could take a while for people to feel comfortable visiting others’ homes

Although a level of normality is expected to return within the coming weeks, it’ll take some renters a lot longer to feel ‘normal’ about travelling and going inside strangers’ homes. Especially when it comes to group viewings and open homes. Online viewings are a great way to keep fantastic yet cautious renters in your pool of potential tenants.

With all these benefits, we reckon virtual viewings are here to stay as one of the silver-linings of the pandemic. While no replacement for a bricks-and-mortar tour, online tours are set to become the norm for first viewings, ‘window shopping’ and potential tenants who live further afield or even internationally. When you consider the time and cost-saving advantages for you and renters, why go back to physical viewings alone?

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