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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Video viewings don’t sell homes and already dying out - agent

Video tours, heralded as the next big thing just a few weeks ago, are being abandoned by buyers and dismissed as a has-been by a London estate agent.

Becky Munday, founder of Munday’s estate agency in south London proclaims: “With the lockdown restrictions eased, estate agents have been able to go back into properties to value and show round perspective buyers. 

“It’s a huge relief to do this, whilst agents were declaring that it was business as usual with video tours, in all honesty it was not! The take up was low, and no one is seriously going to buy a property they’ve not seen in real life. 

“Buying a property is, for most, the greatest expenditure they’ll ever have, and no one is going to buy something without being able to touch and feel the product. Anyone who’s been buying stuff online knows that the majority of it goes back and you cannot do that once you’ve exchanged [on a property.]”

Video tours were quickly espoused by agents and portals when the lockdown meant the housing market was all but at a standstill in much of the UK for many weeks - and still is for a short time to come in Scotland and Wales.

However, while a handful of agents claimed to have sold properties solely through video tours instead of physical viewings, some agents have privately admitted since the market resumption that the technology was unlikely to be used much unless another lockdown is imposed.

Becky Munday is one of the few to have gone on the record.

She continues: “It’s great to be back out and about, albeit slightly different not greeting buyers and sellers the same way and social distancing. In my years of selling property I’ve never seen anything like it. 

“We are also hugely busy, with everyone in lockdown the cracks on the wall have literally shown up, and buyers are more encouraged than ever to upsize – if they’ve got a family, downsize – if their home needs to much maintenance, and those who’ve been flirting with a lifestyle change have now made up their minds.”

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    I think video yours are a great tool - but they aren’t a quick fix solution to getting a sale agreed but they are definitely a great way of working with a buyer and shortlisting effectively.

  • Murray Lee

    Have to 100% agree. Was useful tool prior to lockdown and of course during and just after but nothing like the real thing. Only yesterday was trying to offer a video tour instead and buyers said " nice idea but still want to see the house" We are going at 1pm today. Plus my supplier is running over a week behind...

  • Carl Smales

    Video Tours are a fantastic add on tool.

    We have being using 360 degree virtual tours for over 16 years!

    We have now made the move to 4K HD walk through, but it will rarely take the place of an actual, tangible viewing.

    Agents looking for that ‘Silver Bullet’ as always. Lol

    Happy days!

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    We have added 360 tours during lockdown and, I have to say the take up has been fantastic, especially for those that are not in a position to proceed right now however... they have not replaced actual viewings. We may be a more modern World and industry now, but most of the buyers we have met still want a physical viewing of the property before they commit 100% to it.

    The still have an important part to play in my eyes and, we have even used them to show properties to potential buyers that previously had not considered that property... I suppose like everything, what works for one, doesnt have to work for all

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    Was always a substitute whilst physical viewings were impossible, and those that got involved have a useful tool in the locker for those times when physical viewings are difficult. Utilised properly and they will still be a part of the future.

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    Any agent expecting video tours to replace a physical viewing has failed to understand the benefits of the technology- agents just need to calculate how many ‘physical’ viewings they do which do not result in a sale and understand how many of those ‘wasted’ viewings could have been replaced with virtual viewings - thereby saving the sellers, prospective buyers and agents time, energy, money - simply having virtual tours removes the agent and is not a good service but having accompanied virtual viewings with the agent online with the client -this is good estate Agency

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    Somewhat missing the point of how Video Viewings should be used. As other comments state, of course most people won't purchase without a physical viewing but a Video Viewing can be used to qualify potential purchasers and massively cut down the time agents have to spend showing people around.

  • Vilesh Rew

    This article, and some of the comments, suggest people are not reading, or following, their TPO guidelines. Houses should not be sold simply on the basis of a video viewing. They are a great add-on tool and our buyers really like them, but a physical viewing is required to sell a house. Video Tours are certainly not dead, and are a great tool for listing as well as helping buyers decide if they have a strong interest in a property prior to an actual viewing.

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    As someone who edits these videos I really missed them when I was house hunting myself. I also wished my agent took more advantage of the film I made of my own... rushing to get the house ready for visits at last minute only to see them look around for literally a minute. They are a marketing tool, they make listings stand out and give viewers a better impression when researching. Then purchasers can make more informed choices on which properties to visit. If agents worry that they would seem to be less proactive, then I would suggest using viewing figures to assure clients.

  • Graeme Edwards

    Good for qualifying non-serious buyers out?

  • Andrew Dickinson

    Wow - not sure why this has made news? Maybe to provoke some discussion..?! Totally disagree - we are getting more business as a result - vendors and buyers all love them. Maybe they should review what other agents are doing and learn...

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    I use 360 virtual tours done with a Ricoh and hosted on Vieweet and have done since returning to high st agency in December 2019.
    Using it as an instruction gaining tool fist and foremost and to qualify a viewing secondly. I lead generate, qualify all leads, close for a viewing, then make sure they have viewed the 360 before confirming the viewing.
    I have not sold a single sight unseen property but have;
    1. Created instructions
    2. Created viewings
    3. Cancelled unnecessary viewings
    It’s a sales tool worth using.

  • Matthew Gardiner Legge

    As an estate agent currently looking for a large family home it has been an interesting time to see things from the applicant's perspective. IMHO Matterport walk throughs are useful, videos and music attachments can be long and dull but for me, 6 - 10 good quality photos, a clear floorplan and an accurate location pin are all I need to decide what gets shortlisted and what doesn't.

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    Def keep guided videos short... around a minute.

     
  • Mark Walmsley

    During April, I "sold" 4 properties with video viewings. They all viewed afterwards and are all proceeding nicely. I did not "post" my success as I felt they were all tenuous. Did they rule out certain parties? Yes a few. Enough to continue to use them?

    I feel they will become another "costly" instruction winner with the quality and the bar being raised higher and higher ("if it's not a Matterport is it worth doing at all etc").

    Once everyone is doing it then what next?

    And so we go on.....

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    The level of ignorance and or blatant disregard here for Government advice on home moving during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak is astonishing and frankly a sad indictment, it appears, of too many agents. The guidance - published for the benefit of everyone's safety - is clear and unequivocal. Either this agent is ignorant of the guidance or is choosing to disregard them. Either way, it raises a question mark over which other elements of the guidance notes (last updated on the 21st of May and well publicised throughout the sector) the agency may also be choosing to ignore. There are numerous mentions in the notes of the importance of virtual viewings:
    "viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and property agents should help you to do this".
    "To help prevent the spread of infection, we encourage people to do the majority of their property searching online; for example only physically viewing those properties which you believe you are most likely to want to move into".
    "People should use virtual viewings before visiting properties in person where possible, in order to minimise public health risks. If any member of either the household being viewed, or the household undertaking"
    "We encourage people to do their property searching online wherever possible. Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever this is possible and physical viewings should only be conducted where buyers are seriously considering making an offer on a property".
    "To support this, agents may ask home occupiers to conduct virtual viewings. This will help reduce the number of properties people need to visit before finding their future home"
    "Prospective purchasers may wish to visit a property again once they have agreed a sale, for example to measure up. Where this has been agreed to, the above advice on prioritising virtual visits, hygiene measures, maintaining social distancing at all times and mitigating contact where possible should be followed".
    "Agents should strongly encourage clients to view properties virtually in the first instance and then only physically inspect properties which they have a strong interest in".
    Aside of the above, virtual viewings help greatly with the marketing and selling process. Anyone suggesting that they are a substitute for actual viewings and comparing them to other kinds of online sales, clearly, doesn't understand their real purpose and value to their clients, their customers or their staff.

    Paul Barrett

    Got to tell you nobody gives a stuff about stupid Govt requirenents.
    Getting a house is a dog eat dog world.
    If others wish to obey Govt requests more fool them.

    They will lose out to someone like me who would ignore all and snap up the property.
    I carried on my business as a LL and totally ignored Govt requests.
    Consequently I'm not bankrupt as I would be had I obeyed Govt requests.

    It's a dog eat dog world out there and no Govt was ever going to assist LL.
    So I helped myself by ignoring stupid Govt requirements.

     
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    I feel it helps the potential viewers to decide if they really want to view a property. Combined with the aerial photos of the area gives the viewer a better understanding of the property. An extra 15-30 minutes during initial photo stage (and editing when I have spare time) would have avoided the 20 viewers we had on a property 10 miles away, despite the extensive photos and description of the junction it was on. Well worth the effort.

  • Paul Barrett

    As a prospective purchaser I would much prefer to have an extensive video tour available.
    Can also have a thumbnail one of about 1 minute.

    Video is just an excellent additional marketing tool.

    It will invariably result in those who are genuinely interested arranging a physical viewing.

    EA could fairly presume that with a video available anyone wanting a subsequent physical viewing is a serious lead and not just a 'tyre kicker!!'

    This surely will lead to more effective EA operation.

    I find photos inadequate to gain a proper appreciation of a property.
    Video rarely lies!

  • Martin Shock

    I run a virtual tour technology service that allows anybody in 20 mins with a mobile phone and Ricoh 360 camera to create a virtual tour of a 3,000 sq ft home. I couldn't disagree more and have thousands of users who can back me up.

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    Personally, I have found that a telephone/video accompanied video tour with a non-proceedable buyer is a massive time saver, I save my accompanied viewings for those where we can create business, also those who need to travel to view have found it very useful, we have found that about a fifth don't take it any further, saving everyone time and effort, vendors/landlords still get feedback, personally can't wait for Giraffe to be on board in our office to make our efforts more professional, a five minute mobile video tour done well saves us hours in travel and wasted time. Just my opinion.

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