8 minutes! That’s how long your property has to impress a potential home buyer when they view it online, according to research from top London estate agent, Foxtons!
With the sheer mind-boggling number of properties available to view online, plus the falling human attention span now being less than that of a goldfish (yes, really!), estate agents need do something pretty damn attention-grabbing to nail down a quick house sale in today’s environment.
Enter the wonders of virtual reality…
Once solely the realm of gamers and sci-fi movies, VR is being embraced by many of the country’s most successful estate agents. And for good reason: it works…
A 360-degree virtual walk-around of a property provides an incredible amount of information that traditional images simply can’t provide. After all, we’ve all been to see ‘those’ properties that look incredible on paper, and when you arrive you realise it overlooks a power station or the kitchen that looked so spacious in the photo doesn’t have enough room to swing the proverbial cat. Being able to independently navigate a property online before committing valuable viewing time benefits both buyers and seller.
According to EyeSpy360™, a software firm that provides such interactive technology, more than 75% of potential purchasers valued such interactive virtual viewings more than regular images. And when you take a look at these VR tours, the reasons why are immediately apparent.
Whether you’re a vendor or purchaser, an online virtual house tour is massively advantageous. The following roundup details the most forward-thinking of UK estate agents who now provide such 3D virtual property tours, something well worth considering when choosing an estate agent or looking for that to-die-for new home.
It’s fair to say all these agents are top knotch so in no particular order, lets get started!
London behemoth, Foxtons, realised the massive benefits of virtual tours back in 2016, when they began rolling out the tech from their Islington office. They offer intimate 360-degree virtual tours that can be viewed on all devices, with the ability to navigate at your will through the property, any garden or grounds, and the road on which the house is situated.
In addition, if you have a compatible VR headset, you can take the immersive experience one step further, and virtually step inside the house to view from every angle, as if you were actually inside.
If you don’t have your own headset, Foxtons also offer the opportunity to take advantage of virtual viewing in-branch. Compared to the time you’ll spend slogging around London to physically view multiple houses this is massively time saving. Plus you get to revel in the funky Foxtons vibe, whilst narrowing down the list of houses that really hit the must-have’s on your property search list.
Cardiff based Jeffrey Ross are the go-to property agent for Cardiff and wider Welsh region. And boy-oh-boy have they proved quite how effective VR property tours really are. Since bringing the technology to their customers they’ve reduced the amount of viewings by an almost inconceivable 57%, according to stats on their website.
And that, in anyone’s book, is pretty damn impressive.
Imagine not having to waste time viewing multiple properties before finding the perfect house? Not to mention reducing the average number of views it takes before you sell your house. Scarily this has now increased to an average of 19 times you need to have strangers traipsing around your house, and is continuing to rise. That’s an awful lot of mithering the kids to keep their rooms tidy or clearing up when Fido tracks muddy footprints thought the living room.
In fact, anything that helps you sell house fast, such as this interactive viewing, will make even the hardiest of vendors heave a huge sigh of relief.
The global giant that is JLL Residential has taken the concept of VR and injected some very potent steroids. They’ve also gone one step further by adding in the aspect of augmented reality.
Not only can potential customers use a VR headset to digitally tour a property, they can also use a headset to ‘visit’ a property that doesn’t yet exist. That’s a slam-dunk winning move when it comes to tempting buyers to purchase off plan.
Augmented reality means you can hold up your tablet or phone and check out how a room might look in a different colour. Or place your furniture inside, or see if Great Uncle Quentin’s grandfather clock you inherited all those years ago is too big for that corner alcove. In short, AR allows purchasers to road test their belongings way before they ever get to the making an offer stage.
Far preferable to that heart-stopping moment on moving day when you realise your beloved leather sofa just won’t make it round that corner, no matter what you do
Hampshire and Surrey based Charters Estate Agents have recently added the 360 degree virtual tour to their repertoire, allowing viewers to, “click in and around your home at any time of day or night”. And no, this isn’t some creepy stalker tech that allows weirdos to sneak a peek of you in your PJ’s! It’s pre-filmed and utilises the latest technology so those valuable prospects can take their own virtual wander around, whenever they want and as many times as they choose.
And being as so many now work unsocial hours, it means those who’re awake during the wee hours, or indeed in a different time zone, can be feeling the love for your property, not to mention making sure that your house genuinely does tick all the boxes before they commit to a (time-consuming for all) physical viewing.
Leading independent estate agent, Seddons, might well have been marketing property in the West Country since the late 1970s, but don’t be fooled into thinking they don’t use anything but the latest tech to get their houses sold.
Their dynamic team uses the power of social media and, of course, all the mainline online portals and digital channels such as Right Move and On The Market et, and with daily views of over 40 million, it’s essential that your property is marketed this way. But they’ve recently taken the additional step of including VR tours to engage with potential buyers. These allow viewers the option to see a property in three different and unique manners:
Describing themselves as, “a truly dynamic and forward thinking estate agency,” Avard market properties in the hugely popular areas of Brighton and Hove and their VR property tours attract house buyers both in branch and from the comfort of their own home.
In addition, and with a nod towards those who’re perhaps not quite as tech-savvy as Gen-Z’ers who’ve never known life without a device in hand, they also include a rather handy instruction tab in the bottom left hand corner. There’s also a floorplan to help you navigate throughout the property.
North East agent, Jan Forster Estates, don’t simply use virtual reality viewing technology for their more upmarket properties. It’s refreshing to see that they plough just as much effort into their less expensive bricks and mortar as well.
As they say, VR allows potential purchasers to totally immerse themselves into the lifestyle a property brings. And it’s true. If you love hosting dinner parties, then that open plan kitchen/dining area won’t just tick an essential box, but you can literally count out the steps it’ll take to bring your culinary masterpiece to the table. Or if you yearn for your own little bit of Zen-space from the mayhem of family life, then embracing the vibe as you head to that perfectly located room at the end of the hallway can give you an idea of how your life will fit into the property – and to do so before you take the plunge (and the time off work) to go for a real-life visit.
The largest estate agent in the north of the country, Bridgfords give their higher value properties the virtual upgrade. Not only do prospective viewers get the digital walkaround either in branch or at home, but they get a dedicated personal service specifically designed to market the property to buyers of higher net worth.
After all, being as they specialise in properties in the so-called Golden Triangle of Cheshire, home to some of the most affluent villages and areas in the country (and have a branch in the village where the Beckhams used to life – Alderley Edge), you’d kinda expect them to offer the utmost in property viewing tech now, wouldn’t you?
With over 300 offices around the world, and specialising in the marketing of, as the name suggests, finest of properties – many of which are in glorious countryside locations – it makes sense that this network of independent estate agents has taken on board the ultimate in tech for VR viewing.
Fine & Country utilise the utmost in cutting edge technology, cloud processing and immersive digital experiences by using an AI (Artificial intelligence) powered platform called Matterport. Climb stairs, explore round corners, peer out of the windows. This really is almost as good as actually being in the property.
Well, that’s where the virtual reality tour specialists come in.
There are actually a number firms out there that specialise in virtual tour software and as technology advances there is no doubt more will pop up with even more innovative software!
Below we’ll take a look at 5 of the best that operate in this area!
Tour Wizard: Tour Wizard has over 10 years of experience in virtual reality tours along with a very user friendly platform. Tourwizard allows you to capture panoramic shots and transform them into a virtual tour and includes features such as such as 360-site stream, drag & drop, floor plans & maps for real estate.
In addition the tours are automatically optimised for search engine results pages (SERPS), compatiable with all modern browsers and can be viewed on computers as well as mobile devices!
EyeSpy360: EyeSpy is a high quality self service virtual tour platform.
Their patent-pending workflow enables users to take 360° photos within seconds, upload and create fully immersive tours within minutes and distribute across multi-platforms instantaneously. It includes similar features to tour wizard as well as social media integration.
RoundMe: Roundme is a very versatile piece of software that enables you to capture, publish and post panoramic tours.
They were established in 2012 so have a good amount of experience in the virtual tours market. Some of it’s other features include drag & drop, floor plans & maps for real estate, voice-over / audio for hospitality, 360-site stream, hotspot, and social media integration.
My360: My360 is another virtual tour software for estate agents that lets you shoot and build cost effective virtual tours quickly and easily.
They have similar features to all of it’s competitors which makes them definitely worth considering. Their software is hosted in cloud infrastructure which means it can be accessed from any location in the world!
Kuula: Kuula one of the best ranked easy to use piece of VR softwares in the US.
They offer everything similar VR tour softwares do offer but with the added bonus of being very budget friendly so you don’t have to break the bank if you want to begin incorporating virtual tours as apart of your estate agents!
Harping back to that Foxtons survey we mentioned earlier, it appears that around three quarters of house hunters become frustrated because many properties simply don’t match up to their online descriptions. Therefore being able to navigate around a 3D virtual tour of a house, looking at the views you want to look at rather than an agent or vendor wants you to see, really is a winning scenario. This is very helpful to all age groups so even the up coming generation z young-lings will benefit!
According to an article from Estate Agent Today, such 3D tech generates four times as much interest, 49% more leads, and can help a property sell five times quicker. Buyer or seller, when it comes to property it seems that VR really is the darling of the market. And whilst such tech and AI is still in its infancy, especially when it comes to real estate, you can be sure that such VR tours are only scratching the surface of what’s to come.
From AI robots that’ll show you around your next potential purchase to ‘dating type technology’ that’ll match you to your perfect home, the property industry is set for a massive upgrade.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t all go ‘Black Mirror’ on us. After all, we humans still top the intelligence table of life on Earth. At least, that is, we do for now