November 5, 2020 Buying Selling

Virtual Viewings

By Kate Barker

Even before the pandemic changed people’s shopping behaviours, 95% of buyers started searching for their next home online. Now, with Covid-19 changing the way we interact with each other, virtual viewings are a great way to attract potential buyers, as well as weed out ones who aren’t about to make an offer. One of the best ways to do that is with a virtual tour.

Virtual tours take on different styles. There’s a 3D tour, which is similar to navigating Google Maps Street View, or a Virtual Reality tour, which uses software for your phone and allows you to “walk around” the space. Sometimes real estate agents will also do a live video tour, using software such as Zoom, which allows viewers to ask questions and interact with the space.

This style of viewing isn’t new, but it was generally used for higher-end homes. Now, with social distancing at the top of everyone’s mind, real estate agents are recommending virtual tours for many homes, including entry-level condos, and it is quickly becoming a standard in online home listings.

Virtual tours benefit both the buyer and the seller. For the seller, it can be more time efficient to stage the home once for the photographer, rather than handling a multitude of home viewings that don’t always lead to offers. It can also reach a larger group of people searching online, and it might generate interest outside your anticipated target market. For the buyer, it makes it easy to view the home before committing to an in-person viewing. This means a buyer can see if the property meets their requirements ahead of time, and they can get a feel for the ins and outs of the property, before deciding to visit the house and try it on for size.

Generally speaking, the virtual tour doesn’t completely replace an in-person home viewing, but it adds a buffer to ensure people visiting the home are actually interested in buying the property. This reduces the amount of foot traffic in the home, which is important during this Covid-era of socially distanced home selling. In an online survey, 94% of potential home buyers said they had taken a virtual tour, but 74% said they would not buy a property without actually visiting it first.

If you’re interested in adding a virtual tour option to your online listing, talk to your real estate agent to find out how!

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