Marketing in 2020, the virtual experience

Buying a property without a physical viewing is becoming a reality, so how can developers and sellers market their homes to target the virtual viewer?

2020 has put the property market off kilter, with the Coronavirus pandemic creating an air of uncertainty around whether or not it is the best time to build, sell or buy a home. With the UK having spent the early part of the year in lockdown, and the remaining with restrictions, we are now looking at the face of another lockdown. How has 2020 reinvented the property market when it comes to selling homes, and how has virtual tours, virtual reality, visualiser apps and more helped aid the industry. 

Prospective homeowners are actually prepared to buy a home without physically viewing it at all. Although virtual viewings still cannot replace physical viewings for most buyers, some – one in six, to be precise – are prepared to be flexible. Over a third of Brits expect virtual viewings will be the norm when house hunting and one in five believe you can get everything you need from viewing a property virtually.

According to a survey of 2,000 adults by Purplebricks, those who are prepared to consider a property on the merit of a virtual viewing would like to get a detailed walk through of the entire space, a sense of any issues or repairs, brightness of the rooms and storage space. The functionality of the space, a sense of ambience or a feeling about the house and the décor were also important considerations to encourage people to buy a house from a virtual viewing.

We didn’t quite anticipate the surge of activity that commenced after the first COVID-19 lockdown was eased, fuelled by the Government’s announcement of a stamp duty holiday. Momentum has continued into the Autumn and is not looking to slow down any time soon. The significant level of house sales has consequently caused delays in the completion process, putting pressure on Estate Agents to keep sales progressing through the necessary channels.

Virtual viewings

The types of virtual viewing available vary between different estate agents.

Some use 3D cameras that enable house-hunters to take a self-guided tour around a property on their PC or smartphone – from standing at the kitchen sink and looking out of the window, to measuring the size of wardrobes in the bedroom. 

In other cases, especially if a property is unoccupied, agents may take their own videos as they walk around it or during a video call with the home-hunters. Some agents also offer virtual appointments where they talk to potential buyers through a virtual viewing as they would if they were at the property in person.

In terms of new build developments technology allows viewers to take accurate measurements of rooms and most buyers would not actually see the finished product in person until closer to the end of the transaction.

Ollie Kilvert, Founder, The 360 View, offers 360° virtual walk-throughs for developers, estate agents & commercial property clients with a twist. Clients can embed their tours on their websites, on portals like Zoopla and share teaser clips on social media.

Rather than a customer having to read through pages of specifications, the technology can use Mattertags and attach them to specific areas of interest like ‘granite work tops’ and ‘integrated double oven’. The Matterport technology also has a function where you drop yourself into a property, zoom out to see a dolls-house view, change to a floor plan view and then click to explore anywhere else in the property

Virtual reality

Virtual reality, or VR, is an artificial, computer-generated environment that you experience as if you were inside the image. By encompassing your field of vision, and being responsive to movement, wearing a VR headset tricks your brain into thinking you’re in a completely different place.

Basic virtual reality headsets have been around for a while, but with the technology improving in leaps and bounds, the applications for its use are increasing. As VR develops, you may find yourself a player in the film you’re watching, cooking a meal with your favourite chef (complete with the smell and taste of the food) or exploring the Taj Mahal – all from the comfort of your own home.

When it comes to selling properties, using virtual reality a buyer doesn’t just have to look at a property, they can walk around inside it.

Virtual reality (VR) is set to transform the property market as companies like Classic Folios develop the most up-to-date 3D technology to create an immersive home tour that will add a new dimension to your development and brand.

Home demonstration technology is an excellent property marketing tool that also delivers remote buyer engagement for those who have reserved. The tour allows users to experience a 360 view inside the development’s show home, providing access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It’s never been easier for homeowners to access everything about their new home in one place. With how-to videos, tailored content and a virtual tour all on one portal, buyers  can have unlimited access to their home from reservation. This adds an entire new dimension to the new build sector.

While VR is currently used predominantly at the luxury end of the property market, the pace of adoption is increasing. Virtual reality has proved its worth at the top of the property market and it won’t be long before it transforms the property-buying experience for homebuyers all over the world.

Despite the Coronavirus pandemic dealing a huge blow to everybody within the property industry, the surge in home buying has been astounding, and virtual technology has sure had a key role to play within it. This year has demonstrated how technology like VR, 3D imaging and other apps, like visualiser apps from Dulux, or build your own kitchen from BnQ, have created opportunities for buyers to gain a full understanding of properties that they are unable to see, or view, or even built yet. It is an extraordinary time for the industry, and it only goes up from here. 

Commentary: Thomas Bradley, Mobile Mini 

Construction has been given the go ahead to return to work. It’s important for those in charge of planning a site office to get things correct, particularly with social distancing and hygiene being leading concerns.

With considerations such as health and safety through to storage, plans must be comprehensive and have contingencies factored in to ensure productivity is maintained and sites stay open during a global pandemic.

Simply put, a site’s office must offer a combination of safety, security, amenity, and visibility. So, in today’s article, we’re going to cover the most important things to consider when planning a site office.

As well as the traditional health and safety measures implemented, there’s a mandatory requirement for sites to follow strict social distancing and hygiene measures. These measures include the likes of the ‘one metre plus’ rule  — where workers must be either two metres apart, or at least one metre if two metres isn’t achievable — and making sure hand washing stations are present at site entrances and exits. Along with one-way systems and limiting the number of workers using canteens, workspaces, and drying facilities at once, construction sites are encouraged to introduce staggered starts and finishes.

And the requirements doesn’t stop there, with the Construction Leadership Council outlining a comprehensive list of measures, which you can read in full via their latest version of the site operating procedures guidance.

Commentary: Matthew Firth, Managing Director at Granville Developments

When striving to find your ‘perfect home’; a home that fulfils every requirement on your checklist, you will undoubtedly find that the task feels somewhat extensive and long-winded. On paper, a house may seem desirable in every single way, but in reality, it’s likely to miss something that’s crucial to your lifestyle. A bespoke development, however, allows you to work alongside your developer in order to create your perfect home. If given the chance to develop your dream home, why cut corners and make sacrifices? 

A home should be more than just a furnished space in which to comfortably live; it should be a place that reflects the unique style and personality of the homeowner. When purchasing a pre-built property, any adaptations to the finalised layout and fixtures will be at an additional expense further down the line. A bespoke development will allow you to flood your new home with personality from the get-go. This will allow a developer to perfectly meet your expectations and save you money in the long run!

If you, or a family member suffer with a disability, a bespoke development will allow you to seamlessly install any necessary features before you move in. A home should cater to those who live in it, and being able to account for such things as disability access early on in development is a huge bonus.

The open communication and immense flexibility presented by a bespoke development cannot be understated. Being able to combine a developer’s professional expertise with your own personal, creative flare, will result in a totally unique space that is designed to satisfy your needs. You can be certain that, as the homeowner, you will be involved in all key decisions, ultimately erasing any worries you may have and leaving you with a sanctuary to be proud of.



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Media contact

Rebecca Morpeth Spayne,
Editor, Showhome Magazine

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823 922

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