As this blog is being written, we are all in the midst of the COVID 19 crisis. Before I begin the topic, I hope everyone reading this is safe and has a roof over their head. This pandemic means many things for many people, but for property (sales and rental especially) it means that there’s an increase in ‘virtual viewings’. Because of social distancing measures (to those reading this post Coronavirus, this is a 2 meter compulsory distancing from strangers to prevent the spread of the virus) virtual viewings of properties where no one actually goes anywhere apart from the person selling the property taking those viewing it on a tour, aided with the use of a camera to show the property.
I advise property managers to stay abreast of the changes to mortgage holidays and other COVID 19 legislation, however this blog is featuring this style of house viewing because as experts we’re expecting this to become more common even after the virus has become no threat to society…
The first piece of advice is to decide whether to do live viewings or take some form of stationary video. A video will be easier to distribute and won’t require scheduling, but those viewing it won’t be able to direct you and they may not see the whole picture of the property. A suggestion is to try both methods, if you take a video it can’t hurt to have a run around of the housing for future use…
The next piece is a clear one. Make sure the property is presentable. It may seem clear, but some people may be hoping that because they can control the flow of the viewing (because they hold the camera), that they can leave corners of rooms cluttered. This isn’t the case as people have been found to actually be MORE inquisitive with a digital viewing. So, make sure you clear up before you read any further down this list!
Thirdly, make sure your technology is up to spec! I am sure you won’t need some sort of film camera, the cameras in most modern smartphones are probably enough to maintain an adequate level of detail. Make sure to test this, show a friend or colleague and ask for real advice. If you’re phone isn’t up to filming the tour of the property you may need to rethink your approach (this may mean disinfecting someone else’s phone, if this happens make sure to get viewings done in a day!).
Also, consider the package you will be giving those coming to view the property. Don’t forget to exchange with them the same way you would normally. Build up some casual conversation or find out more about them. There are many social cues that simply can’t be expressed through simple video, so keep this in mind. Maybe add some pictures to the deal, send them over to those viewing the property, it may be the tipping point for someone interested.
Another point is to not bother with some of the more traditional methods of showing off the property. This is a massive positive, but may require some adjustment for those not use to the altered way of viewings. You no longer need to bother with the techniques such as the classic ‘freshly baked bread’ clique, but you might need even need to speak as much as you are accustomed to. You also won’t need to focus on time of the appointment, and the local area becomes less important too (people won’t have to travel, so you can assume that they have a knowledge of the surrounding area)
Finally, it’s a hard time for many people, so be patient with those struggling to use technology, even if it’s being patient with yourself – computers and phones can be very difficult!
Nick Fox started his property investment career 10 years ago and his portfolio has grown to one of the largest in the UK. Nick now mainly focuses on HMOs (houses in multiple occupation) and works to help others achieve property success too. Visit here to find out how he can help you.
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