Before the lockdown – in a time when agents did everything possible to literally get a foot in the door – virtual viewings where put in a proptech box labelled, ‘bit of a luxury, not really necessary’. How things have changed and according to Yomdel’s latest Property Sentiment Tracker, customers are increasingly requesting to tour properties online.
Even though in-person viewings are permitted, the Government, for now, is urging people to adopt the ‘two step’ viewing system – a virtual viewing first, followed by a physical visit to homes movers genuinely think they will offer on.
In this feature, we bring you ways of making virtual viewings happen, and agents will be pleased to know many options are available at the click of a button or via a third-party professional. We’re also including some stats and supporting evidence, should you need further convincing. Virtually sold!
The supplier: The Property Jungle
Proposition: a way for agents to create 360° tours, floorplans and 3D dollshouses with any compatible camera and immoviewer software. All virtual tours can be viewed in 3D using a headset with a smartphone holder.
Perks? Agents using a Ricoh Theta or Madventure camera will benefit from their virtual tour going live as soon as it’s uploaded, while virtual tours taken on other cameras will need processing via a dashboard, which takes longer.
Our tours can be remotely controlled from within the software, allowing agents to virtually accompany viewings. Agents can book a Viewber to conduct a virtual tour. Mike Smithson, The Property Jungle.
Can you outsource? Agents can book a Viewber to conduct a Property Jungle virtual tour on their behalf – a company that offers nationwide coverage.
Cost: Hosting fees start from £2.25 per property per month, and agents are required to buy a minimum of two packs (each pack covers 10 properties). The cost of floorplans and dollshouses are driven by the volume of credit purchased.
The supplier: Homes on Film
Proposition: efilm is a platform where agents can upload their self-filmed videos. Each video receives its own branded url link, which can be pasted into listings, shared on social media or given to clients. When a video is opened, it plays as an agent-branded video player.
Perks? As the videos are not hosted by YouTube or Vimeo, there are no adverts and the agent is allowed to feature back-links to its own website. An agent can also send any video from its in-player library to clients via text message or customised email. A live efilm is also being trialed, which will result in an interactive real-time broadcast.
Can you outsource? Filming is performed by the agent or, during periods of social distancing, the vendor or tenant.
Cost: There is a one-off set-up cost of £190 plus vat, which includes a ‘how to film a property on a mobile device’ guide, an animated branded logo, a property tour template, an advisory video for clients and a branded upload facility. Video enhancements, including further branding, watermarking, music, editing and a voiceover provided by TV’s Mike Bushel, start at £10 and rise to £80 per video.
The supplier: IViewProperty
Proposition: Agents can order video walkthrough tours that allow viewers to play, pause and rewind a viewing.
Perks? Static photography can be ordered in addition to a video tour.
Our technology allows us to replicate live viewings. Our clients have been using a platform called MyCircle.tv, which synchronises video plays with remote viewers. Simon Thomas, IViewProperty.
Can you outsource? IViewProperty conducts films on behalf of agents to ensure quality and consistency is achieved.
Cost: Approximately £100 per property. Although there’s no minimum order, regular clients also get a social marketing package.
The supplier: Matterport
Proposition: Virtual tours that present viewers with immersive, interactive 3D digital twins of any property. One single scan also produces brochure-quality static photographs, a floorplan, a guided video tour and a dollshouse model.
Perks? Users can perform accurate measurements of walls, ceilings, doorways and furniture from within each tour by clicking the cursor. Agents can also embed videos and PDFs into the tour by way of clickable ‘hotspots’.
One of our most recent studies revealed 20% of offers made on homes were made with no in-person visit, with a virtual tour giving added confidence when buying blind. James Morris-Manuel, Matterport.
Can you outsource? Matterport offers the facility to hire a professional to take the tour on an agent’s behalf, although there’s a new iPhone app that allows agents to take virtual tours with their smartphone and an online shop so agents can buy their own Pro2 camera.
Cost: Matterport prices vary, depending on usage, but the initial model is free and then pricing starts at £7.99 per month to host five models. This increases depending on the number of models the user would like to create.
TAKE AIM AT INTERNATIONAL BUYERS WITH VIRTUAL VIEWINGS
Our fluctuating pound and, believe or not, stable political backdrop has always made the UK an attractive safe haven for overseas investors. Now ex-pat buying activity is set to join the intentions of portfolio purchasers.
Research conducted by Knight Frank among its global network of prime brokers found a rising number of expats are looking to invest back in the UK.
Rather than a deterrent, 64% of agents polled by the agent (Knight Frank) commented that the pandemic had swayed expats’ decisions when weighing up whether to buy a property back home, with many reassessing the importance of family and friends they left behind.
Agents looking to capitalise on this trend should make virtual tours the backbone of their listings, says James Morris-Manuel at Matterport: “Disruptions to international travel may make it harder for international buyers to view UK properties in person but in the case of investors, buying ‘sight unseen’ is quite normal – and this way of purchasing can be extended to all global buyers.”
“A url link to a virtual tour can be sent quickly via email or shared across social media so purchasers can tour a property at a time that suits them and from anywhere in the world. What’s more, one of our most recent studies revealed 20% of offers made on homes were made with no in-person visit, with a virtual tour giving added confidence when buying blind.”
The supplier: Giraffe360
Proposition: This is a three-in-one virtual viewings solution that provides a high resolution virtual tour with a video call function built on top, offered to agents on a subscription basis.
Perks? The virtual tour also yields a floorplan and high-quality static photographs.
We have technology that allows users to connect to the tour directly, not like a screen share. Both the agent and the client are actually in the same virtual tour space at the same time. Mikus Opelts, Giraffe360.
Can you outsource? A Giraffe360 subscription includes a high-precision proprietary camera – whether an agent self captures or passes the equipment on to a professional photographer is up to them.
Cost: Giraffe360 subscription prices range from £199 to £449, including a camera, file processing, cloud storage, dashboard and a remote viewing function.
NO LOSS OF CONTROL
Normally agents feel accompanied viewings puts them in the professional driving seat, providing them with a stage to showcase their knowledge and persuasive skills but this can still be achieved with virtual viewings.
“Our tours can be remotely controlled from within the software, allowing agents to virtually accompany viewings,” says Mike Smithson at The Property Jungle. Similarly, Paul Spencer at Revvis says his interactions and video product allow for live conversations and viewings, with the agent able to guide the viewer for greater engagement.
Around 50% of 2,000 people questioned by The Guild of Property Professionals would be open to seeing a prospective property via a virtual viewing.
The team at IViewProperty has also developed a system designed to replicate live viewings. “Our clients have been using a platform called MyCircle.tv, which synchronises video plays with remote viewers,” says Simon Thomas. “Both parties are watching the same video at the same time, and this allows agents to discuss the property and get live feedback in real time.”
Mikus Opelts at Giraffe360 is also offering a real-time solution: “A unique feature of our virtual viewings is switching control of the experience over to another user,” he says. “We have built back-end technology that allows users to connect to the tour directly, not like a screen share. Both the agent and the client are actually in the same virtual tour space at the same time, and the video screen provides a simple visual connection that enables both users to see each other.”
The supplier: Revvis
Proposition: a seamless and interactive walkthrough virtualisation product that creates 3D models and videos from just floor plans and measurements – no need to enter a property. VR headsets can be used for a 3D experience.
Perks? This is a helpful tool for off plan sales, allowing agents to guide buyers around properties that are not yet built. There’s also the ability to change wall colours, floor coverings and tiles, as well as move furniture, measure spaces, design and share.
Can you outsource? No need, as agents only need to supply a floor plan and room measurements
Cost: From £85
STATISTICS THAT HOLD SWAY
As well as circumnavigating the need to conduct unnecessary in-person viewings – whether you’re trying to filter out time waster or are protecting vulnerable clients – virtual tours can help win listings, generate more leads and assist agents in closing deal quicker. You might like to know:
- 95% of buyers are more likely to call about homes with 3D virtual tours
- 74% of agents using Matterport virtual tours win more listings
- Agents using virtual tours can achieve a 4-9% higher sales price
- Virtual tours can decrease a property’s time on market by up to 31%
- Properties listed with virtual tours can achieve as many as four times the number of enquiries and generate 49% more leads
- Users who engaged with a video were over 200% more likely to send an agent an enquiry
- There has been a 215% increase in virtual viewings of new-build properties on Zoopla’s site
- Strutt & Parker has noted up to a 123% increase in month-on-month unique visits to properties’ virtual viewing tours across some of its branches
- Around 50% of 2,000 people questioned by The Guild of Property Professionals would be open to seeing a prospective property via a virtual viewing.