House-hunting has ground to a halt during the lockdown, or has it? Physical viewings and moving house might be out of the question. But virtual house viewings are set to keep the housing market ticking over.
Despite millions of Britons being told to stay at home this has only fuelled our online home viewing. Luckily, the growth in virtual house viewing tools has allowed us to walk around a house without stepping outside.
James Morris-Manuel, vice-president of Matterport, tells Home & Property requests for its property scanning service have grown more than sevenfold, in the last week.
‘People have suddenly realised they need to digitise assets they may not be able to access for quite a while,’ he says. ‘The UK market was watching Spain and Italy and realised that shutdowns and more aggressive forms of social distancing were coming soon. They needed to get their house in order.’
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.
‘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.’
However, would you ever buy a home without seeing it in person?
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?