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‘House hunting on internet is overrated’ Kirstie Allsopp tells millions

Location, Location, Location presenter makes remarks about virtual viewings during Norton's inaugural Virgin Radio programme.

Nigel Lewis

graham norton

Kirstie Allsopp has weighed into the virtual viewing debate with a distinctly critical eye, claiming that ‘house hunting on the internet is overrated’.

The TV presenter made her comments during an appearance on the new Graham Norton Virgin Radio show alongside Location, Location, Location co-host Phil Spencer and adventurer Ant Middleton.

Allsopp has a track record of squashing initiatives within the property market that she doesn’t like – and was the Conservative Party’s poster-girl for its campaign to kill off Home Information Packs in 2010, three years after the then Labour government’s introduced the pre-sale property information initiative.

But Kirstie Allsopp now has virtual viewings in her sights.

“You can achieve a lot in terms of finding out about the local area. You’ve got the brilliant aerial shots, but it’s a very physical auditory, nose, see, smell, taste, touch type thing.

“I think there’s been a bit of people thinking that they’ve seen something when they’ve seen it over the internet and that’s not seeing something.”

Team praise

Allsopp and Spencer went on to praise their team who – as any agents who’ve been on their programme will know – do both the producing, filming and initial house hunting.

“So that’s really hard. And they go and see 20 that’s often 40 properties in the run up to the days in which we’re filming. And then sometimes Phil and I will walk into a house and go, no, and all hell breaks loose,” said Allsopp.

Read more about Norton’s new Virgin Radio show.

January 11, 2021


  1. Virtual viewings do not directly sell property, but as businesses make more profit the more efficient they are let us do the mathematics. In a non pandemic world, if you are carrying out 14 viewings, of which say 12 are accompanied to get one sstc. And you reduce this to just four-accompanied viewings as the potential buyer has a much more forensic view digitally prior to ‘physically viewing’ – then one sales person is doing 75% less viewings a year.

    Multiply that out with the number in a typical sales team, then cost out that ‘hour’ viewing, then say that ‘virtual viewings’ which buyers can do 24 hours a day, seven days a week is a waste of time. Bolt on a digital solution to sort buyers in a position to proceed, and you can further lower the number of viewings ratio.

    • Whilst I agree , it never ceases to amaze me that an ” expert ” feels they need to point out the obvious . We know that people will not actually buy from just a video , but it has a number of advantages , such as ruling out potential buyers , who , on seeing the video , either rule it out , or decide it is worth making an appointment to view, It saves wasting their time and ours . It is simply another marketing tool , like floor plans . People now expect floor plans as a matter of course . Also , video viewings have been most helpful during the current pandemic .

    • Agreed James.

      I cover rentals and on the one occasion I let a property from a virtual viewing to an overseas renter, it went horribly wrong, the same as letting a “friend” look on the renter’s behalf, it’s ok to get a feel but the actual client must see the property before anything happens!

  2. One thing I’ve learnt in 40 years of property , what ever the property looks like on the outside always look , remember it’s how the inside works for you and the look of the outside is the least important .

  3. No surprise there
    What ever the situation is at present you cant beat a “hands on” viewing
    There is nothing in a virtual viewing that can give you a “real feel” of the location, the property and the area

    Its all too overrated to me

    Yes, its somewhere to start, but certainly not somewhere to end

  4. Is that conversion rate Andrew quotes pre- or post-pandemic ? I think most agents would agree that applying the simple “no speculative inspection” criteria of needing to be in a position to proceed with either complete verifiable chain, cash in bank or with proof of deposit and Mortgage approval, our conversion rates are much improved.

    Virtual tours can be exceptionally well made, some can be rubbish, but they will never and should never replace a physical inspection, whether they embrace Kirstie’s “taste test” or not.

    They are simply a marketing tool and have the same relevance as glossy printed brochures had over in-house efforts – appealing to some clients, not others.

  5. Kirsty also said that properties need to be ‘tasted’ – this sense is used in the Stanton household to eat cakes, not bite into bricks and mortar, but then again I do not hang around with Phil Spencer.

    Virtual viewings on a more scientific level, have recently been found by ‘The Guild’ to have reduced the conversion rate of 14:1 down to 4:1 after potential clients have looked at virtual tours – prior to viewing. With 800 plus branches in the test group, I am thinking Kirsty has a right to her view, but clearly the advantage to the buyer’s and the agents of virtual viewing adoption is pretty clear.

    Clarity and efficiency will be the 2021 watchwords of modern agency during Covid, and eating cakes too.

  6. Surely, the point is to save time not looking at places that take time and energy getting there only to find that they have no appeal whatsoever. Providing people with additional visual information so that their viewing decisions are better informed has got to be good for safety and for the planet and it saves time for buyers, vendors and agents. I don’t think she’s thought this through.

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