This article was originally published with Estate Agent Today on 27 September 2020.
It’s been an unexpected year for the property market, shaped by the effects of the pandemic. We didn’t quite anticipate the surge of activity that commenced after the first COVID-19 lockdown was eased, fuelled by the Governments announcement of a stamp duty holiday. Momentum has continued into the Autumn and is not looking to slow down any time soon. The significant level of house sales has consequently caused delays in the completion process, putting pressure on Estate Agents to keep sales progressing through the necessary channels.
This pressure has been exacerbated by threat of further disruption. Despite the Governments attempt to keep coronavirus restrictions localised putting in place a 3-tier system, the public remain apprehensive that we are heading for another national lockdown, much like the Welsh ‘firebreak lockdown’, which has brought closure to all non-essential retail, causing further delays to ‘home moving’, as high street Agents have had to close and physical property viewings have once again stopped.
The impact of COVID-19 is also affecting the way people are choosing to live. Many businesses are preparing for their employees to be working from home for longer than originally perceived and some are making home working a permanent and viable option for the foreseeable future. This is causing people to rethink how they live and assessing whether their current home environment remains fit for purpose, creating ‘wish-lists’ and planning for their future homes.
We are already seeing increasing demand for more spacious properties in rural locations with gardens, as more people choose to move away from cities and big towns. This trend isn’t limited to the buyer market, but the rental too, as tenant priorities are also changing. There is a growing number of people who are realising the freedoms and flexibility of working from wherever they choose, feeling inspired to adopt a more ‘nomadic working lifestyle’, where they are not bound by a central place of work. This could be a different country, or simply moving to a more remote location, in the countryside or by the coast for a fixed period, until they fancy trying something new.
Agents will need to go that extra mile to assist these home hunters who are looking to move out of town to a completely new location. The property viewing process needs to be convenient and easily accessible, regardless of whether lockdown restrictions have been imposed. Sole reliance on physical viewings will not cover all eventualities and personal preferences. This is where a virtual tour can provide an alternative means of viewing a property, whilst offering many more benefits.
Not only does a virtual tour enable the viewer to be in complete control, where they can view a property from anywhere at any time they choose. They can view the property without limitations as many times as they need. High quality virtual tour technology enables viewers to walk from room to room and zoom in at high resolution, enabling the viewer to see detail up close. Dollhouse and floor plans views help the viewer understand the scale and ratio of the property, whilst digital measuring tools give viewers the opportunity to accurately size up the interior space and plan for furniture. Agents can also use tagging throughout the tour to highlight property features or fixture and fittings.
Virtual tour technology has significantly moved on in recent years and has proven to be extremely popular during the pandemic, facilitating property viewings that would have otherwise been inaccessible. The cost of virtual tours doesn’t have to be expensive and are no longer associated with the higher end of the market. Agents who are already using virtual tours have saved time on pre-qualifying buyers or tenants, minimised the number of physical viewings needed and boosted their marketing efforts by sharing video teasers on their social media, embedding tours onto their websites or promoting properties with ‘virtual tours’ via the property portals.
CoreLogic’s HomeVisit 3D Virtual Tours service provides high quality scans that are fully immersive, providing home-hunters the best possible remote viewing experience. If you would like to know more or book a demonstration, please get in touch salesUK@corelogic.com or visit us here.