In the wake of global trends in video apps, many Australians have become more comfortable with virtual open-for-inspections, and some may even come to expect it. So if you’re looking to sell or lease your property, it may be worth considering a video walk-through to increase its overall appeal and cater to viewers who can’t be there in person.
Thankfully, the technology’s there to support you:
- Live virtual inspections
- Video walk-throughs
- 3D virtual tours
What is a virtual inspection?
A digital or virtual viewing uses video technology, like video calling apps or immersive 3D video, to remotely showcase a listing. They’ve been used by the real estate industry to market properties for sale and rent - but have become useful, and often essential, of late.
It’s helpful to understand the different types of virtual inspection, and the tech used for each.
Types of virtual inspections
A live virtual viewing could be carried out over video apps like Facetime, Facebook Live, Skype or Zoom with the agent, property manager or landlord/lady, as host. They walk viewers through the property, answering any questions. For this option, the viewers log onto the platform at a specific time while the agent’s hosting - so in this sense, it’s almost like turning up to an open inspection, albeit remotely.
Video walk-throughs have been a popular tool for helping to market properties for sale. It is recorded, edited and produced, often with additional elements like music and titles. These are then uploaded to a listing, to be viewed for as long as it remains live.
3D virtual tours
3D virtual tours use functionality like virtual reality software to create an immersive and interactive user experience. Specialised 3D cameras are used to create 3D walk-throughs, that produce schematic floor plans and HD still images of individual rooms. Viewers can click through various points in a house to get a 360-degree perspective, with multiple views of each room and the exterior of the property.
But will the added marketing cost be worth it?
The pros and cons of virtual inspections
A virtual inspection or virtual tour has several benefits, providing an accurate idea of:
- The size of a property
- The layout of a property
- The condition of a property
A 3D video also offers extra functionality and features, like a measuring tool and the ability to zoom in on property details. Video walk-throughs and 3D experiences also allow viewers to re-inspect a listing 24/7 and share it with friends and family for their feedback. Compared with a traditional in person inspection, the benefit for the viewer is that they can do this all from the comfort of their own home and time.
A weakness of virtual inspections is that no matter how immersive the technology, it’s never going to fully replicate an in-person experience. One option which could overcome this is to offer both virtual inspections and in person inspections. This can help cater to both viewing preferences, while expanding the reach to the cohort of Australians who are physically unable to attend.
Virtual viewings, the new expectation?
The huge global uptake in video chat has undoubtedly accelerated the uptake of tools like 3D virtual tours and digital inspections. The property sales and management industry and online portals, like realestate.com.au and Domain, are all now supporting digital inspections as they adapt to evolving market conditions and changing consumer sentiment.
83% of respondents indicated that a virtual tour helps them “better shortlist properties”, according to a by REA Group in April 2020. 61% of those surveyed also thought digital inspection videos made a listing stand out, and “appear more premium”.
Ash Frenken, CEO of property management agents propper expects video marketing to feature heavily, as owners look to gain an edge in what could be a crowded marketplace. “Virtual inspections are going to become an expectation of buyers and tenants, as they change the way they interact with property from being a primary ‘physical/in-person’ event to a remote ‘online’ interaction.
Getting it right
If you’re going to include a virtual or 3D tour for your listing, it’s probably worth taking the time to get it right. Here are some options for you to consider:
- Using dedicated equipment and software - to produce a professional result.
- Detailing all the key features in the property, like storage, natural light, internet connectivity, security, inclusions and heating/cooling systems.
- Covering the most important rooms first, starting with the kitchen, followed by the bedrooms, bathrooms, living room and exterior.
Things you should know
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This information is general in nature and has been prepared without taking your objectives, needs and overall financial situation into account. For this reason, you should consider the appropriateness of the information to your own circumstances and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice. © Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141 AFSL and Australian credit licence 233714.