The technology has been around for a while, growing more and more sophisticated by the day. But perhaps it’s only now, while physical property viewing is not possible during this period of lockdown, that it’s being truly appreciated.
Sellers and agents are still able to do ‘business as usual’ to a certain degree with the help of virtual reality and video conferencing tools.
What VR has to offer
Online activity appears to be at an all-time high as people working from home are browsing property. Some are likening it to the days after Christmas.
Virtual viewing is able to give potential buyers realistic walk-through tours, allowing for a better sense of space than standard photographs.
VR service provider VRPM has custom tools that allow clients to add furniture and even walls, and so giving them the opportunity to see the potential of the space – not just mentally visualise it.
Leading VR company Matterport captures panoramic imagery and depth data which then renders a dimensionally accurate 3D ‘digital twin’ of the property. They currently have over 2 million spaces captured in this way, the largest index of its kind in the world.
It appears this technology is helping keep agencies busy. Guy Gittins from Chestertons said, “By planning ahead, we managed to get video walk-throughs recorded for many of the properties we are marketing before the lockdown but we are also now asking landlords and sellers to use video conferencing tools to conduct live virtual viewings in their own property, with the agent talking the interested buyer or tenant through the property.”
He added, “The current situation has obviously had a massive impact on activity levels in the property market, but the levels of interest remain almost undiminished with our web searches and requests for information not too far below what we would be expecting at this time of year.”
The future of viewing properties online
As buyers are perhaps turning to this technology out of necessity while unable to view properties physically, will there be a decline in online viewings after the lockdown is lifted?
Perhaps this is an opportunity for people to experience the many positives of this medium.
VRPM believes this way of viewing property is simply ‘better’. They say, “Once your clients see the difference there is no going back.”
As in many other industries (like food, with click-and-collect and delivery services), people are seeing the benefits of going digital. It’s likely the trend will only continue to develop and grow.