Just a fad or here to stay?
The ongoing pandemic has increased the use of video and virtual viewing as part of property marketing by estate agents, but does that mean it will decline as restrictions are eased? First, lets consider some of what we already know about house hunting, prior to covid-19.
Where does the enquiry start?
As with most purchases nowadays, the starting point for the transaction is online. Gone are the days of marching up and down the high street of your desired location and registering your interest as a buyer with the local agents.
The portals have changed the way we search
Property listings galore are literally at your fingertips via portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Setting your search parameters and setting up a property alert is only a few clicks away. Aside from property listings, they are packed with useful information on schools, market trends, historic sale data and guidance for both buyers and sellers – info traditionally sought from estate agents themselves.
Where the hassle comes in
Generally, the hassle starts when trying to marry up the schedules of buyer / agent / seller and carry out that initial viewing. Then, multiply that by the number of houses in contention and you can quickly say goodbye to days off and weekends. Not to mention the travel time involved when you’re an out of town buyer.
So you’ve managed to settle on a day and time to view the property for the first time, packed the whole family in the car, driven to the viewing full of excitement, you get through the front door and…… 😩 it’s nothing like it looked in the pictures!
So where does virtual viewing come in?
First of all, Virtual Viewing is not designed to replace physical property viewings and we do not recommend making an offer or buying a property you have not visited in person. The purpose is to take that first viewing online by giving buyers a clear and transparent view of what a property has to offer before they request a physical viewing.
Good for buyers
High quality, 3d virtual viewing, like the one available from our property marketing service allows buyers to first view a property online at a time that suits them, not the agent and the seller. From there, a physical viewing can be arranged with confidence.
Good for sellers
Quality beats quantity when it comes to most things and viewings are no different. No one wants to spend their spare time cleaning the house to prepare for viewings that ultimately don’t go anywhere. Buyers that have viewed a property virtually, will effectively be taking that all important second viewing when they arrive in person, making it all the more likely to generate an offer.
Whats good for the goose…..
Ultimately, everyone stands to benefit, including the agents. Less time spent wasted on viewings that won’t go any further will free up more time for agents to make the difference where it counts, keeping up communication with buyers, sellers and solicitors to ensure that the once sales are agreed, they proceed smoothly through to completion. This is where the good agents earn their fee after all!
All things considered
I have every confidence that virtual viewing for property is here to stay and will fast become the next standard in property marketing alongside still photography and floor plans. It simply makes the ‘house hunting’ part of the process far more convenient for all involved and only serves to enhance the quality of property listings.
Floor plans were once considered a ‘nice-to-have’ item, but I think we can all agree they are now considered a standard part of a property advert.
Virtual viewing isn’t there just yet, but it it won’t be long.
Joe Webster, Director
Selling your home can be a daunting prospect especially with added time pressure to move brought about by the reduction in stamp duty until March 2021. Naturally, the price you set for the property will have a big impact on the speed at which it sells however, there are a number of other things you can do to improve the marketability of your home and reduce the time it takes to attract a buyer.
1. Create the right first impression
The saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression. Think about the lead picture on property listings, it’s nearly always the curbside view of the property. Of all the images used in your listing, this is the one that needs to grab the buyers attention and make them want to see more. This is also the starting point for a physical viewing.
Needless to say, time spent improving your homes curb appeal will help attract interest from buyers and get a viewing off on the right foot. Get the windows cleaned professionally, prune hedges, cut grass and sweep away leaves. For those with some money to spend, think about some hanging baskets or brighten up a tired and worn front door with a couple of coats of paint. Most of this will only require a bit of effort and not a huge amount of expense.
If you are short on time, second to adding some curb appeal, a thorough declutter will have the biggest impact. When selling, you need to ensure your home will appeal to as many buyers as possible. Go room by room and make a list of what can go.
Don’t be tempted to pack everything into storage cupboards to the point where they are bulging and can’t be opened. Buyers want to see inside these areas, adequate storage is going to be a requirement for the next owner after all.
Think about depersonalising. It will be hard for a buyer to imagine themselves living there when they are surrounded by someone else’s family memorabilia. Reducing the number of family photos, trophies or certificates and holiday souvenirs will help buyers start to imagine ‘your house’ as ‘ their house’
Hire a storage unit and then remove the excess that is making your rooms look crowded and untidy. By doing so, you will have also made a head start on packing for when moving day comes around.
3. Tackle overdue DIY lists
Now that the clutter has been removed and more of the floor and walls are visible, it’s time to tackle any overdue DIY tasks. Tackle any quick wins by:
Fixing loose door handles
Oiling squeaky hinges
Adjusting kitchen cupboards so that they open and close as they should
Fixing any loose tiles
Applying a fresh coat of paint in a neutral colour if time permits
4. Let there be light!
Poor lighting has the ability to undo all of your hard work above. Especially if selling in the darker months of the year. Upgrade existing fittings with new brighter LED light bulbs which offer more lumens than incandescent bulbs. They are also more energy efficient, helping the overall energy performance rating of the house.
Choose the right colour temperature for the room. Low colour temperature bulbs give off warm orangey light, great for snugs whereas high colour temperature bulbs give off a whiter glow, great for bathrooms and kitchens. If unsure, go with a high colour temperature daylight bulb as this will make each room feel brighter.
Think about adding additional light sources in the form of floor and table lamps, mirrors can also help to reflect light and make a small room feel larger than it is.
5. Think about pets
I’m sorry to say it but not all house buyers will love your furry friends as much as you do. Where possible, take them out of the house when physical viewings take place.
Whether you have cats or dogs, it’s a good idea to minimise their presence during the selling process. As part of decluttering, think about reducing the number of dog beds or scratching posts. Prior to a viewing, don’t leave food bowls or chew toys laying about, buyers don’t want to trip over a dog’s bone or see a bowl of uneaten pet food on the kitchen floor.
Don’t fall at the final hurdle!
So you have put in all the time and effort and completed these 5 steps and you are now ready to get your property on the market. But don’t forget about Professional Marketing Assets!
It seems pointless having gone to all this effort to be let down by a poor quality property listing. After all, you only get one to chance to make a good first impression. Make sure you give your property the edge by insisting on professional photography, floor plans and a virtual tour for your listing.
Virtual Viewing for property has been accelerated by Covid-19. You may be surprised to hear that, property listings that offer Virtual Viewing receive an average of 40% more views on property portals.