Virtual property viewings – are they the future?

Virtual Property Viewing

Advances in technology mean that virtual property viewings now play a key role in commercial property transactions. The ability to view a property digitally benefits all parties, whether sellers, buyers, landlords, or commercial tenants. 

Virtual viewings provide clarity for interested parties in their decision on whether to move forward with a property and can speed up the sales cycle. So do virtual property viewings represent the future for this sector?

What is a virtual property viewing?

Virtual property viewings provide a high-quality digital representation of a property using video and still images, and there are several different types of digital viewing available.

360-degree photography tours

3D virtual reality tours showcase a property, typically via an interactive floor plan from where the viewer can navigate their way around the property at will. They can zoom in and out of areas of interest to get a clearer picture of whether the property might be a suitable option, and decide whether to book a further in-person appointment. This is particularly beneficial for those who need to travel from a distance.

Virtual Reality (VR) guided tour

This type of virtual property viewing can be provided with or without audio from the agent. If audio is used it offers a similar experience to an in-person viewing, using high-quality video that captures every detail of a property.

Virtual appointments

A virtual appointment offers the opportunity for the viewer to interact in real-time with the agent or seller, often using video conferencing software such as Zoom. They can ask questions about the property as if they were there in person and request closer views within rooms as necessary.

The benefits of this type of technology show the potential of virtual property viewings to smooth and speed up sales transactions. In the future, this could make them an invaluable property marketing tool that pre-qualifies serious buyers or tenants. 

What are the benefits of virtual property viewing?

High-quality digital representation of a property

Virtual viewings provide a detailed first look at a property and help interested parties decide on whether to progress to the next stage. They provide a professional, immersive experience and allow viewers to book a second in-person viewing where appropriate rather than having to visit the property initially.

Time and cost savings

As well as benefiting commercial property buyers, digital viewings save agents and sellers money and time by narrowing down interested parties to a shortlist of potential buyers.  Virtual property viewings can be conducted on any mobile device, at any time of day, and as often as needed, delivering a flexible and comprehensive service.

Professional branding for agencies
The use of virtual property technology conveys a professional brand image. It demonstrates a progressive and modern outlook and understanding that quality client experiences encourage successful transactions.

A memorable buyer experience

Virtual property viewings provide a memorable experience for prospective buyers and tenants when compared with the use of ‘standard’ imagery, especially if several properties have caught their attention at the same time. Virtual ‘staging’ also offers ideas on how the property could be used.

Do virtual property viewings represent the future?

VR is an advancing industry that is likely to play a larger role in the property industry as time goes on. In addition to the standard checks, the benefits of using virtual property technology are clear - notably flexibility, cost and time savings.

Its huge potential, therefore, and broad adoption by the sector, offers us a glimpse into a digital future, creating greater competition and facilitating smoother and faster property transactions as a matter of course.

This article was written by Keith Tully, partner at Real Business Rescue, company rescue, restructuring and liquidation specialists with 30 years of experience in supporting company directors in financial difficulty.

About the Author

Over the last 40 years Adrian has been involved in the sale by auction of over 10,000 properties in the Yorkshire and Humber region, ranging from small sites and ground rents to large industrial estates and residential investments. He has been most fortunate to have sold many landmark buildings throughout the region and is particularly interested in properties that require modernisation, restoration or redevelopment.

Having spent many hours on the rostrum at Bramall Lane, he saw the incredibly successful transition to online auctions seeing some £100m of residential, commercial, agricultural and industrial lots being sold for private, corporate and local authority clients. In March 2023, he joined Eddisons and Pugh & Co to forward this success and continue to offer personal service with a larger national presence .