Whether looking for your first home or your forever home, thanks to COVID-19, virtual house hunting has been given a boost.
Social restrictions have made viewing properties difficult (though this is easing). Virtual tours allow house-buyers to browse properties without needing to step foot out of their own front door. ‘Walk’ through a house you like the look of - look around the bedrooms, inside the cupboards in the kitchen, have a stroll around the garden.
Some letting agents still remain hesitant to show potential buyers around in person, whereas others use video and virtual tours as a filter to save their time and travel expenses. If buyers are serious about viewing a property after enjoying a virtual tour, agents will happily accommodate them; however, many buyers will likely be browsing and will eventually move on to look at other properties.
According to The Independent News, 1 in 6 people in Britain would consider putting in an offer on a house after a virtual tour – without even going to view it in person.
The average ‘virtual viewing’ lasts 25-30 minutes, and it ideally covers all areas of the home - giving prospective buyers an opportunity to decide whether they’re truly interested in a particular property, or not. Video tours tend to be 5-10 minutes long and fail to evoke the same feeling of actually being in the house, unlike virtual tours.
Virtual tours are still a fairly new technology and, as a result, they feature in just 8% of properties on Zoopla. However, during lockdown, when people were not able to view any houses they liked the look of, VR technology saw a big push.
Says Guy Gittins, Managing Director at Chestertons, ‘Estate agents used to take an hour of your time, go round in the car and show you five two-beds in Putney.’ In his opinion, the housing industry is ‘due an upgrade’.
Despite people's fears concerning how the housing market will look after the pandemic, the stamp duty holiday may stimulate the industry and encourage people to buy houses.
Times are changing, due to COVID-19, and many industries are turning to online sales. Could viewing a property in person soon become a thing of the past?
Example of VR from Gravity VR on youtube
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