There was an article in Estate Agent Today recently that suggested only four per cent of properties on Rightmove and Zoopla featured a video tour.
Sourced from a company promoting such videos, it also suggested that 59 per cent of homes listed with a tour were either under offer or sold subject to contract.
So why such a poor result for such a brilliant idea would be my first question? My own properties listed on the portals show a higher success rate and that’s without video tours to help them. In fact, only five per cent of properties listed in Portsmouth that day were shown to have videos available.
It suggests that not having a video tour is no hindrance to selling a property. And I can also tell you that video tours are nothing new. We tried them 30 years ago and they didn’t work then.
Back in the day, the tours were recorded on VHS tapes that could be borrowed overnight. One of the first we tried was borrowed eight times from the video company without a single viewing being booked. Yet the first viewing with somebody who didn’t borrow the cassette resulted in a successful offer.
The thing is, there’s very little that’s new in the property market. Probably the biggest boost came with the arrival of stick-on colour photos. Someone would painstakingly attach the pictures in the spaces left for them on pre-printed particulars kept in a filing cabinet. Older home owners will probably have experienced this system.
The beauty of it was not so much in the pictures, major boost though they were, but in the personal touch. Your name would be listed and your current ownership/sale status assessed as well as your suitability for making a viewing. After all, those pictures were expensive and we didn’t give them to just anybody!
But the real point is that estate agency is a people business, one that’s best conducted face-to-face, firstly agent to homeowner and then agent to viewer. There has to be a relationship, a meeting where each side sizes up the other. And, more importantly, potential buyers get to make that vital first impression of a property.
It’s often said that the 30-60 seconds when buyers first enter a property is the clincher. They can get a feel for it that they don’t experience in a video.
Online selling may work for cars, and many dealerships have video tours of every motor in stock. But when you buy a car online you can reject it within the first 14 days for any reason. Try doing that with a house where you’ve just installed all your furniture.
I’m not saying there’s no place for video presentations. With some of our more expensive homes that have the potential to attract overseas buyers, the video introduction is a boon. But we never regard the house as truly sold until the buyer has made a visit and seen it. When their smile gets broader, then you know you’ve done the job!
*Colin Shairp is director of Fine and Country Southern Hampshire and Town and Country Southern. He is also the south eastern regional representative on the Fine and Country National Advisory Council.