Viewings have become difficult or impossible under lockdown, which despite being a handicap for the business, has opened a whole new world of opportunities.
While viewing properties through a virtual 3D tour has existed for a while, until the Covid19 crisis, it was a slowly emerging secondary viewing option, generally only accessible to buyers of exclusive properties. After the lockdown this has suddenly changed and now it has become a rising tendency for the successful Realtor post-Covid19. Therefore, this unusual crisis has inspired many professionals to use their time to learn about and acquire new technology options for their company’s improvement, which wouldn’t have occurred under normal circumstances, or at least, as rapidly.
In Spain the activity of visiting properties froze after the government instructed people not to move home or carry out viewings in person until after the coronavirus crisis comes to an end. Across the world, flight bans and lockdowns are forcing entire populations to stay at home.
Due to this fact, the use of virtual tours, where buyers can navigate their way through a home using 3D images, is on the rise. Since the beginning of March, sales of 3D cameras have increased over 600%. Creating 3D captures of properties, gives a navigable view of homes, which shows the property with external walls removed and offer precise measurements.
3D technology it is the most advanced multimedia service on the market to show a property virtually. The tour of the property combines high-quality photography and laser measurement to create a fully immersive 3D model. With an accuracy of 99% it is as if we were right there visiting the house. It can be a guided tour, just by pressing play, or a free tour, jumping from one room to another according to interest, to visit all corners of the house. It’s like a 24 hour open house.
Virtual property tours used to be an option only for exclusive properties, as the technology used was expensive. However, nowadays, tours can be arranged easily and affordably, and virtual tours can even be made for free. The viewing of the property can be offered through the website of estate agencies, portals and even social media.
There are currently many virtual tour applications and online creation options, some more sophisticated and expensive than others. They can be used on your computer or simply with your smartphone. Drone technology has also become more accessible and portable, which can be used to create a high-quality virtual tour of a property itself and its surroundings. Therefore, nowadays, any professional of the Real Estate sector can use digital technology to show any property they have for sale.
Some applications you can find in the market are Tourweaver, 3DVista Virtual Tour, Panotour, Vitility or the The Matterport 3D data platform, options for virtual home staging, that can convert a space into its own immersive digital equal. With a single scan, you can automatically create 3D walk-throughs, 4K print quality photos, schematic floor plans, OBJ files, point clouds, videos, and other media. You can digitize and view your space from multiple angles, build functionality on top of it, get accurate measurements, and other options, which you can then share via social media, your website or any other communication channel that you prefer for your business.
Property portals offer the possibility to present virtual and 3D tours of their properties. Some of them only allow a link, with others the entire tour can be added, and in some cases a button can be placed. Some providers charge the service and others offer it for free, but nowadays, almost all portals offer the option to show your property virtually. This service is available for direct vendors or for professionals.
As an example, the well-known Spanish portal, Idealista, has added a new search filter that allows the user to view only those ads that have a “virtual visit”. They have more than 20,000 properties with this option; The Madrid metropolitan area offers the most (8,000), followed by Catalonia (2,800) and Valencian Community (2,600). These are ads that, in addition to the photos, have graphic material of the latest technology and that allows potential buyers to visit the house from the comfort of their own home, so buyers can see every corner and space it offers without the need to go outside, or travel to visit it personally, so that they can easily find out if it fits with their housing needs.
What are the post-Covid19 property searches going to be like?
Many homeowners will not want to let streams of viewers into their properties anymore, even after lockdown. Self-isolation is likely to continue to a certain degree for a while. Even when we start going out again, the market will have changed, and we will rely more and more on our technology to avoid being more exposed than necessary to any threat to our safety.
Even in the future, when the confinement is over, buyers that want to view their future property first, will want to make their preselection through virtual tours, so they can view as many properties as they’d like, and reduce their in-person visits to a very low number, being an advantage for all the parties involved in the process, for safety, time efficiency and economy.
Taking this into account, if you haven’t started yet, now is the time to consider taking your business to the next level and invest in new technology and learning tools to put it into practice.
Let’s go virtual.