Virtual Viewings: how to view a property from the comfort of your home

Virtual viewings are a fantastic alternative to physical viewings, bridging the gap between visiting a property in person and just looking at photographs. Social distancing doesn’t mean that you have to remove your property from the marketif it’s already for sale or prevent you from marketing your property if you’re looking to sell. In fact, according to James Pace, Partner and Office Head of Kensington, it’s crucial not to take your home off the market at this time. He explains: “because everyone now has more time on their hands, it’s a bit like Boxing Day – this will be one of the busiest times when people look on the web to see what’s out there – so be available to ensure that you get their attention.”

While virtual viewings are not a brand-new concept, their importance and value they can bring to the property industry will be crucial over the coming months. Now is the time to innovate, and thanks to advances in technology, we are proud to be able to offer our clients an accurate, immersive and popular alternative to physical viewings.

As the UK is in the midst of some of the tightest restrictions on social interaction and movement in living memory, with uncertainty in regards to the duration of this period, we, like many other businesses, are finding ways to adapt to the new, albeit temporary, normal. The virtual viewings we have conducted in the past have been very popular, and we believe that the technology used could revolutionise the way in which our customers arrange viewings in the long term, even after social distancing measures are relaxed.

How sellers can conduct a virtual viewing

The great thing about virtual viewings if you’re a seller, is that you can conduct the viewing yourself, entirely remotely. We’re encouraging sellers to film their own video tours of their property and send them to us, which can then be shared with potential buyers. The quality of most phone cameras nowadays is sufficient to provide a clear and accurate video tour of a property. Filming your own video tour of your property actually offers a unique selling point of its own, allowing the viewer to experience a more ‘lifestyle’ aspect of your property – visualising how they could also use the space and seeing the property in a more ‘homely’ state.

How buyers can book a virtual viewing

If you’ve found a property online that you wish to view, contact the agent and you can then choose from two options:

  • Screensharing – If you have Skype, then you will be able to share screens with your agent during a call. They will then be able to show you a video tour of the property. The benefit here is that you will simultaneously be able to speak to your agent whilst looking around the property, as you would on a physical viewing, and ask them any questions you may have.
  • If screensharing isn’t an option, your agent will be able to send you a link to an online video tour.

Virtual viewings are a great way of getting a feel for what a property is like.  Such viewings have proven popular in the past, particularly with our international buyers, and we hope that this method will help you compile a shortlist of properties to view in person once restrictions have relaxed if you are a buyer, or help generate interest if you are a seller.

The future of virtual viewings

While social restrictions limit the methods in which virtual viewings can be carried out, it is likely that this period will shape the future of viewings.

“The available tech is better than most people realise”, says Oliver Beales, head of Knight Frank’s Beaconsfield office.

3D cameras will prove to be a game-changer when it comes to virtual viewings. Such cameras can create a fully navigable, high-definition 360-degree walk-through of a property. The software allows the viewer to navigate the house from a ‘doll’s house’ perspective, switch between floors and explore the house in a similar way to Google Street View.

Example of 3D tour

Drone footage will also become more widespread, says Harry Bethell from Knight Frank’s Cirencester office. He says the tech can make an important contribution to selling a property, particularly country houses.

“It can produce 4k video and 20-megapixel photography and is a great tool when talking to potential sellers,” Harry explains. “I can tell them that I have the drone with me in the car and take the photos and videos there and then. It’s a really effective way to show a property from different angles.”

Example of drone footage 

The hunt for your dream house doesn’t have to grind to a halt over the coming months, neither does it mean that people can’t look around your property. For more advice, read our Q&A on the government’s information on moving home or our top tips from our experts.

Keep the ball rolling – virtually.