Why Virtual Tours are essential during the COVID-19 pandemic
The global COVID-19 pandemic has affected every single industry, and has had a major impact on the real estate world which has had to adapt to relying on technology more than ever. Lockdown has meant that in order to keep the housing market moving, agents have had to use virtual tours as their only method of showing properties during this time.
The demand for virtual viewings has increased dramatically in recent months with many industry experts predicting that virtual tours will only become even more popular and a staple part of how the real estate industry will sell and rent homes in the near future.
Google trends have also seen a spike in searches recently for virtual viewings compared to January of this year.
So what are the virtual tour options? 🏡
It seems that agents are creating virtual tours in a number of ways. These are a few options of the different ways they are creating a virtual tours:
A popular choice among agents is to scan an entire home with 3D or 360 cameras to give viewers a very detailed representation of the property and they can self guide their way through the home. The agent themselves can do this but requires specific expensive equipment which can even cost upwards of $5000. The other option is to hire a third party service to scan the home for a fee per property with a turnaround of 2-3 days.
Live Video Call Viewings
Some agents have been taking prospective tenants or buyers on virtual walkthrough appointments where they can ask more questions usually via Facetime or even hold group viewings on Facebook Live. Whilst this is an innovative way to connect to clients during the pandemic it is also time consuming and agents often have to return to the property multiple times to show different people who are interested.
PropTours Virtual Viewings
PropTours is a brand new software that has been designed specifically to empower the agent to create engaging and interactive virtual tours in less than 5 minutes. Launched shortly before the outbreak of COVID-19, these videos have been a way for agents to quickly get started using virtual tours without needing any extra equipment.
Benefits of Virtual Tours 🤩
There are many benefits of using virtual tours and now with no other option they have become essential to keep the real estate business moving during this time.
Time is everything in the industry - time kills deals and spending a lot of hours showing properties to buyers who aren't serious wastes both time and money. By investing in a virtual tour you instantly gain more qualified leads as the tour acts as almost a first viewing and therefore potentially speeds up transactions.
Major real estate portals like Realtor.com, Zoopla and RightMove have also stated that properties with virtual tours get more interest than listings that only use images.
Having the option to view a property online that is available to watch any time across any timezone opens up your listing to international buyers or to those who don't live near the property - who are often much quicker to make decisions.
How PropTours have helped real estate agents during the pandemic 🙌
We are determined to help agents take control and create virtual tours that get them better results. We have collaborated with agents all over the world to figure out how this technology can be improved and to alleviate the main pain-points of virtual tours. With the benefits of virtual tours clear but only 9% of agents using this technology we wanted to know what was stopping them?
We discovered that two main considerations they had to make was the time involved and the expense. We therefore wanted to redefine what a property virtual tour is - creating a property walkthrough video in less than 5 minutes with just a smartphone now means that virtual property tours are not just reserved for higher end listings.
During these extremely challenging times we have been delighted that our service has been able to make life that bit easier for agents whose normal process has been turned upside down.
Here is a quote from one of our UK customers who have relied on our service to get up and running quickly with virtual tours - something they hadn't been able to do before.
"It really is the strangest of times & I have to say having your software available to us could be even more important now than we anticipated as it may be our only way of carrying out viewings in the next coming months!"
You can learn more here about how Proptours works and how we can help you boost your listings today!
Post COVID-19 - what does this mean for the future?
This pandemic has only highlighted the extra convenience that virtual tours bring as well as becoming a vital part of marketing properties.
The shift to online has been accelerated even more and virtual tours are leading the way to speed up the real estate world's digital transformation.
Looking to the future and a post lockdown world, it seems to be the general consensus that virtual viewings are here to stay! It's no surprise that Zillow's CEO Rich Barton has said that "The virtual tools home shoppers need for safety today will become their expectations for convenience tomorrow."
This opinion is also echoed by others in the industry including founder of OneDome who stated “Due to the current lockdown restrictions, it's important that agents are able to seamlessly execute virtual viewings. There is, though, a high chance these types of viewings will remain popular once lockdown is over."
Agents and buyers have seen the many benefits of virtual viewings and where social distancing is set to be the new norm the industry must adapt fully to this technology making life easier for everyone.
Virtual tours are here to stay and will become a major part of marketing properties. To get started with creating interactive and engaging tours today PropTours currently have an exclusive introductory offer to help get agents showing properties in the safest way possible - virtually!