Residential Online Virtual Viewings

Online viewings for residential properties has grown in popularity over the past few years. It enables potential tenants to view rental properties from a distance and to reach a decision about whether or not they wish to proceed. 

This method of viewing properties grew in popularity during the Coronavirus pandemic when in-person viewings were restricted. Even with the pandemic under control, the popularity of online virtual viewings continues to grow. As such, would-be tenants now expect to be able to view properties online before visiting. In many cases, tenants may wish to proceed to a tenancy without visiting the property in person, but solely based upon their virtual tour – this is commonplace in densely populated and competitive regions where the market for rental properties is particularly intense.

How virtual home viewings work

Virtual property viewings is a popular way in which tenants can view a property from a distance via a desktop computer, laptop or tablet. Theoretically, they could view a property on their mobile phone but, in practice, the limited size of the screen makes this less attractive.

Online virtual viewing broadly falls into two categories: recorded walkthroughs and guides, and real-time virtual viewings. 

Video trailers and online tours give prospective tenants a better sense of what the property is like. They provide a recorded walkthrough of each room that has been expertly edited together. This can give would-be tenants a better sense of the space, layout and overall feel of the property to determine if they wish to proceed with renting or purchasing the unit. These are not interactive but are pre-recorded, meaning that they can be accessed at any time. Some specialist virtual tours provide an interactive 360° scan of the property, thereby enabling viewers to navigate through the property as they wish. 

Virtual viewings work like an in-person viewing, but at a distance. It gives potential tenants a walkthrough of each room in real-time. The appointment will be scheduled and the letting agent or landlord will lead the viewing from the property before showing each room via a smartphone or tablet using conferencing technology such as WhatsApp or Zoom.  Multiple parties can enter the call, making it ideal if joint tenants are not in the same room when the appointment is scheduled. This is a particularly attractive option for tenants that may have a number of questions about fixtures and fittings, location, or renting in general, as queries can be asked and responded to in real time.

Was virtual home viewing around before lockdown? 

Virtual viewings have been around for a number of years, particularly since the rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets. It was developing and growing at a steady pace prior to lockdown, which then led to a huge growth in the number of online virtual viewings out of necessity. Landlords, letting agents and tenants have come to value the ease with which online virtual viewing can be conducted. Potential tenants may book an online viewing because they live far away and are looking to move quickly, whereas others may use it to undertake a preliminary tour of the property before booking an in-person viewing.

What are the advantages of virtual home viewing?

Virtual home viewings allow anyone to view a property wherever they are, so long as they have the technological means to do so. They enable landlords and letting agents to conduct viewings with a wider range of people and open up the pool of potential tenants. 

For tenants, it allows them to view more properties and to use their house hunting time efficiently. This can be particularly important in a competitive property market.  They are a safe and accessible means by which to schedule and conduct viewings with would-be tenants wherever they are located. 

What are the disadvantages of virtual home viewing?

Virtual home viewings have some limitations and many tenants prefer to see the property in person rather than online. The person conducting the viewing may wish to deliberately hide less favourable aspects of the property from sight. 

Tenants may not feel that they are getting a comprehensive and realistic view of the property. There is also a risk of technology failure resulting in the viewing being jeopardised. 

What happens if you find a fault once you’ve moved in?

If you find a fault that wasn’t apparent on the online viewing, tenants can take up the issue with their landlord. If the issue is significant and the landlord isn’t willing to address the problem, it may provide grounds for further action. The tenant may be able to exit the letting agreement early or compel the landlord to rectify the situation. 

How can Centrick help with residential online virtual viewing?

Our experienced residential lettings team has an in-depth understanding of the market. We can arrange residential online virtual viewings by potential tenants to help speed up the letting process. 

Tenants can book viewings 24/7 through our online system and we will make those viewings happen as soon as possible.

Contact us today to find out more.