Property in: LONDON

Are face-to-face viewings vanishing?

Face-to-face viewings are no longer that relevant as the pandemic has accelerated lots of changes in our lives, especially in terms of digitisation and modern technologies.

Progress does not stand still, and many once very viable things naturally become obsolete due to changes in people's priorities and lifestyles. The pandemic has boosted such changes dramatically and affected the property market as well.

We have seen digitisation supersede manual interactions in many industries such as information search, shopping, or music, for example. The real estate market is no exception as we observe face-to-face viewings naturally and gradually phasing out.

Escorted tours of properties were implemented way back in 1743 and are laborious, time-consuming, and often do not convert into a sale. In other words, they simply seem outdated and inefficient. For example, if there are 40 viewings per month on average, there is a chance that 36 appointments may result in nothing, which means more than an hour a day wasted. This is not to mention the costs like fuel, calls and other essentials.

Undoubtedly, not all face-to-face viewings have to be eliminated and replaced, and sometimes they might be advantageous for both seller and buyer. However, Zoopla reveals a 215 per cent increase in virtual viewing requests during 2020.

The trend of people switching from physical viewings is definite. A remarkable 86 per cent of respondents of the survey commissioned by U-See say that they would rather buy a new home or rent a flat using digital viewing tools. From the revenue standpoint, virtual tours win too. According to Twenty Ci, a cumulative 7 per cent increase in asking price for both sales and rents can be achieved by the digitisation of the property viewings.

Physical viewings and countless visits with pointless traipsing around properties are not over yet. But their time is clearly running out.

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