Thomas Morris Estate Agents has claimed the world’s first ‘virtual open house’ property viewing.
The firm carried out the event via the app Periscope, a social media platform recently acquired by Twitter which allows users to broadcast a live stream around the world.
Simon Bradbury, a Director at Thomas Morris, held the event from the property in St Neots, Cambridgeshire. A total of 54 viewers tuned in live, with ten watching subsequent replays. The traditional open house, which occurred after the virtual event, attracted five attendees.
Bradbury says he was ‘blown away’ with the response and that he was pleasantly surprised not only by the number of virtual viewers, but the level of interaction and questions about the property itself.
Using Periscope, open house viewers can text through questions or features of the property they would like to see. The fact that these requests can be dealt with immediately is where the value lies, according to Bradbury.
He says, however, that he does not see this form of open house replacing its traditional counterpart and that the virtual event will act as a ‘trailer’ and pre-advert for the open house itself.
“There is still a need for a person to physically view a property before buying it. In 30 years I have only been involved in one sale where the buyer did not see the property in the flesh beforehand,” says Bradbury.
In March online estate agent SellMyHome carried out a virtual walkthrough of a property for sale via Facebook. Thomas Morris is claiming the world’s first open house, however, as its event was streamed completely live and included the agent taking questions from prospective buyers.
Thomas Morris has confirmed that it is planning to carry out virtual open house events for a number of its rental properties. Bradbury also said that he is aiming to carry out a similar event, via Periscope, with the vendor present, taking questions from viewers.
The Cambridgeshire agency will also be using Periscope to connect with and promote local businesses. Just yesterday Bradbury used the app to broadcast a charity bet placed at Huntingdon Racecourse.
“By showing support for our local communities, giving them a voice and an opportunity to publicise their services, products or good causes, all at no charge, we are able to demonstrate real integration with the local area,” says Bradbury.
“I really do think that Periscope has a massive future in our business. This is where the future of estate agency is – the very latest technology allowing us to connect directly with local people.”
*Graham Norwood is away on annual leave until June 10th. Conor Shilling will be undertaking editorial duties in his absence. Please send any press enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.