A brave new world! How lockdown turned Estate Agents digital - Virtual viewings and online valuations

7th May 2020

A brave new world!  How lockdown turned Estate Agents digital - Virtual viewings and online valuations

This spring, anything that could - went virtual! Birthday parties, online concerts, meetings with friends, family and work colleagues everything is being conducted via video conferencing, even weather presenters work from home - the list is endless!

But how has the world of estate agency adapted to the new virtual world? Lock-down and social distancing rules have affected the way estate agents operate, with no face to face viewings or valuations, but what exactly are the new digital methods - are they reliable and do they work? Here is a little more information about what to expect.

Instant & virtual valuations

Valuing homes is a key role for agents and as the general public head into week seven in their homes, agents are receiving many more requests for valuations during lockdown. There are several ways vendors can get an idea of the value of their properties.

The first product to explore is the Instant or online valuation.

It is important to say these are only estimates providing ‘ballpark’ figures on how much a property should be marketed for. There are many instant valuation tools on the market, but as a rule they use data from various sources such as Land Registry and previous sales in the immediate area – all indicators for pricing.

At Marchand Petit our valuation tool is supplied by The Guild of Property Professionals, using Land Registry data it generates three prices based on an upper, middle and lower value, after which if requested a member of our team get in touch to discuss the property further to help get a more accurate idea of price.

In some instances, it is possible to take part in a virtual valuation, where via video call the vendor takes the estate agent on a tour of the property. The agent can then provide a more precise idea of price, based on what they have seen as well as market data and what the company has sold in the area.

A normal valuation just virtually.

Although agents cannot visit the property in person, it does not mean the process cannot be started. In some instances, it might even be possible to begin marketing the property online, based on the virtual valuation.


Virtual viewings

Photographs give you an idea of how a house looks, but nothing is quite the same as walking around a property to see how it feels and flows. Virtual viewings are videos taken whilst walking around a property - like a real-life viewing.

Virtual viewings existed before lockdown and in some instances professionally filmed. During lockdown many of the viewings have been recorded by property owners on their mobile phones, referred to as vendor filmed virtual viewings. These are becoming increasingly popular and even though the quality can vary, they still give potential purchasers a good feel for the property.

Prunella Martin, Prime Waterfront & Country House Director commented;

“Being based in the South Hams we are often working with buyers from outside the area, trying to give them a feel for a property without meeting them in person is something we have had to do for a long time, so for us working with buyers remotely is something we have a lot of experience doing.

The lockdown has made us, as an industry, explore different ways of working within our agency, encouraging us to think outside the box. Enabling us to continue to remotely match homes and buyers without meeting in person. Over the last six weeks we have had offers made remotely, we have given virtual valuations and we are adapting on a weekly basis to ensure we offer our vendors and buyers the best service we can offer, while ensuring they stay safe and at home.”

For more information about virtual valuations or viewings visit www.marchandpetit.co.uk or call any of our  branches to discuss how we can help you.