One in six Brits would consider putting in an offer after a virtual house viewings – without even setting foot through the front door.
A study of 2,000 adults by Purplebricks found one third are happy to judge a property from online viewing only, as long as they can get a really good idea of what it is like inside and out.
A ‘virtual viewing’ takes around 26 minutes on average. During this time prospective owners say they would ideally like to see 13 photos and six videos – with 68 per cent wanting to see every room of the house.
Being able to see garden size is a must for 61 per cent. 56 per cent want to get a concept of space, and six in 10 want to get a feel of how much work needs doing.
Four in 10 adults would also like to get an idea of whether there is room for existing furniture and 47 per cent even expect to be able to see if there are good views out of windows.
‘The property industry is adjusting to huge changes in how buyers want to view homes,’ says Angela Wallace, Divisional Sales Director from Purplebricks. ‘It’s never been more important to offer virtual viewings and as the results show, more and more people are open to putting in an offer without necessarily seeing the property in person.’
‘Wants and desires seem to have changed lately with much more thought going into the functionality of a home.’
‘And there’s a huge desire for more than just a tidy garden space – buyers are now looking for this additional outdoor space to accommodate more than just a space to sit in on a warm day. It’s all about multifunctional space.’
Despite fears the housing market would stall following the pandemic, more than half of respondents said they are just as likely to move to a new house – with the latest stamp duty holiday no doubt adding extra appeal.
It also emerged nearly half of respondents, polled via OnePoll, were actively house hunting – and said rooms being made to look light and airy, sparkling clean and top presentation were vital in making a property look appealing.
Back gardens with decking, a summer house and trees would also have buyers giving properties a big thumbs up. Simple DIY projects could also make a difference with a garden bar, window planter boxes and a bold front door most appealing.
Celebrity handyman, Craig Phillips, has teamed up with Purplebricks to reveal how to put together some effective additions to the home. The former Big Brother winner said: ‘A lot of people have surprised themselves since lockdown with unexpected DIY skills. The trick is to have the right tools and keep it simple. If you want to boost the appeal of your home, then use colour and get creative with the space you have.’
What are virtual house viewings?
Virtual house viewings can range from videos to 360-degree images like this one. Drone technology is another method growing in popularity for showcasing properties. Since the government announced the Covid-safe house viewing guidelines virtual viewings have become an essential part of house hunting.
‘Such technology has huge potential for how we market properties,’ says Christopher Dewe from Knight Frank’s Country department. ‘It may well be a better option than producing a brochure or floorplan in some instances.’
‘Virtual viewings can also help in identifying the serious buyers for a property,’ he explains. ‘And we must remember that we are also dealing increasingly with a younger generation that likes to do their research behind the scenes.’
Virtual viewings, usually via FaceTime has been used in the letting market by overseas students or young professionals for years now.
‘We’ve been doing virtual viewings for overseas students for as long as FaceTime technology has been around,’ says Gary Hall, head of lettings at Knight Frank. ‘It’s mainly been with overseas students, but a few professionals too. It’s worked perfectly well.’
In the Knight Frank Dulwich office, the first evaluation of a property for sale via FaceTime was complete earlier this month. ‘The whole situation actually let us build a lot of trust and rapport,’ says Catherine Stage from Knight Frank’s Dulwich office.
Would you ever consider buying a property after only a virtual viewing?