Oct 31

Selling Property with Virtual Tours – are they really worth

Selling Property with Virtual Tours – are they really worth it.

When it comes to selling your home, estate agents need to use every tool at their disposal – from accompanied viewings to drone imagery and brochure production to social media campaigns. However one relatively new bit of technology is getting a lot of coverage both by agents and indeed the property portals – virtual tours.

From the comfort of your armchair, you can now have a ‘virtual look’ around a property in high resolution and never leave your own home. After all they look great, buyers seem to love them and if it helps sell your home then why not?

However as I see it, there is another angle to virtual tours and the way they are generally used in the market place currently is questionable.

The big query for me is whether this ‘tour’ is to the benefit of the vendor or indeed the estate agent? Call me sceptical if you wish, however when one views these often glamourised Hollywood productions with the agent front and centre – who is actually gaining? The estate agent ratchets up new followers and likes, but are these viewers serious about buying a property, or simply interested in property porn?

Another significant point is surely that they are a security risk? Having interviewed a former Royal Marine Commando who now runs his own security business, he concurred that given the high resolution of these tours and ability to zoom-in, meant he could easily find out where alarm panels and sensors were, view family photographs and high value items, plus which way doors opened. Thankfully he is one of the good guys, but what if he wasn’t?

The other issue is that virtual tours are often casually placed online, however it gives too much information away up front about a property. You are letting interested parties make up their own minds about your home, without them engaging with the agent. This somewhat defeats the object of the exercise, especially if they have got the wrong impression. The agent can’t correct them nor indeed follow them up, as no one knows who viewed.

Thinking one step further ahead, the new incoming buyer may not want their new home to come with a vast digital footprint which will remain online for the foreseeable future. This could be a deal breaker in some instances.

Instead, I feel the key with virtual tours is to keep them offline and for the agent to retain control by offering ‘accompanied virtual tours’. This means that an interested party can still virtually look around your home, however the agent shares their computer screen and talks the viewer through in real time. This means you will get better feedback, more engagement and don’t unnecessarily add toyour digital footprint.

The key with virtual tours – less is more!

Alex Goldstein is an independent bespoke property consultant across Yorkshire and London (www.alexgoldstein.co.uk) 020 3714 59