Virtual tours, yay or nay?

Saturday 02 May 2015  / Ruth Montia

The introduction of virtual tours/walk around for clients looking to buy property is being accused of becoming a threat to estate agent industry.

The traditional way of marketing a house for sale is through uploading photographs to allow potential buyers to go to the property and get a general feel for the house and its layout/design. However, advances in technology have allowed this method to become outdated and replaced by Estate Agent Virtual Tours.

Antony Waldorf, chief executive of Virtual Walkthrough, says the property industry wrongly sees technology as an unsettling threat, when it should be seen as a force for innovation.

He says “Like other sectors before it – financial services, fashion, retail and marketing to name a few – property is beginning to appreciate the impact of technology on its services” he says. But he notes that as a conservative industry by nature, UK property professionals have often shied away from technology. This is perhaps because it sees technology as a threat, and has been slow to embrace it. However, it does not have to be a disruptor”.

His views indicate that agents should work alongside tools that have the potential to help their consumers and offer differentiation in crowded market.

The other side to this is that many people like to have that face-to-face communication. It is better in some opinions to prefer human interaction over some automated, faceless machine.

Some agents share the view that if a buyer has all the information available to them, they would not call agents anymore and the balance needs to be kept. Enough information should be provided so an inquiry and appointment to view can be made.

Personally, I feel that although this sounds like a great introduction to the industry in a modern world, the full impression is not given through a virtual image. Size can be misleading on a screen and the full effect of visiting your future home is something a virtual tour cannot offer a family. I guess it’s a matter of personal preference, so there will still be a market for both