Landlords – how to do good virtual viewings
Landlords – this is our guide on how to do good virtual (video call) viewings.
In the height of the lockdown, the Government recommended that no prospective tenant viewings, periodic property inspections or non-essential repairs were to take place. Hopefully those days a behind us now.
During this time, many of us got used to video calling for both business meetings and catching up with friends and family.
And with this near universal adoption of technology, tenants have become more accustomed to viewing properties via the medium of video calls.
Whilst many tenants will still want a physical viewing of their potential new home, video call (virtual) property viewings are a great way to cut the need for these right down which saves the tenants from having to travel.
Landlords can save lots if time if the virtual property viewing can be recorded and emailed to prospective tenants. In this way, virtual viewings can also work as a no-cost (albeit less polished) alternative to 3D virtual tours. However, this should still be done in conjunction with a call after the video has been viewed so both parties can ask questions and the landlord can get a feel for the potential tenants and their suitability for the property.
To help you do virtual viewings well, we’ve pulled together our simple, easy to follow tips for how to organise, prepare, shoot and run a good virtual property viewing.
You neither require fancy equipment or the skills of a showman to do this successfully.
Landlords – how to do good virtual property viewings in four steps
Step One: Organising the virtual viewing
When organising the virtual viewing with the prospective tenant it’s best to ensure you swop contact details so you can get in contact with each other in the event of technical difficulties or last minutes changes to the plan.
You then need to mutually agree the date and time slot and the video call platform you will both use. Up to 20 minutes should be more than sufficient time to tour the property and ask each other questions.
Any video call viewing is going to look better when there is still natural light so try to organise the virtual viewing during daylight hours.
In terms of video call platforms we recommend whatever is free, widely used and able to accommodate multiple participants so WhatsApp, Zoom and Google Hangouts are the order of the day. All of these work whether you have an Apple IOS or Google Android smartphone but if the prospective tenant doesn’t have a smartphone then Zoom might be the best bet as it’s great on laptop and desktop computers too.
Step Two: Pre-virtual tour planning and preparation
A little bit of preparation should lead to a smoother and successful virtual property viewing experience.
You should aim to tidy the property as you would normally for viewings in normal circumstances. Even though your prospective tenants will not there in person, you still want to present the property looking at its best; free of untidy and unsightly clutter.
You should also plan your walk through in advance. Think about how best to go from room to room to show off the property and its key features in the most efficient way.
On the point of key features, you’ll hopefully be well versed on the properties strong points and will be proud to show them off. However, it should be remembered that videos still fall within consumer protection legislation and must not contain false images or omit anything that could be a material consideration for a tenant in deciding to let the property.
Step Three: Shooting recommendations
Generally speaking, shooting landscape (holding your phone so the long edge faces up) is best.
You should pan the camera slowly to show off each room in its entirety and to also show the room from a few different angles i.e. by moving to a different corner of the room to pan the camera around again.
As mentioned, the video will look better if you shoot the property when there is still natural light. But you will be forgiven for less than professional production values. With everyone being forced to video conference during lockdown, nobody is going to be concerned about you being smartly dressed or children photobombing shots. Don’t worry if you are not used to presenting. It’s more important to be genuine and so long as you know your property well and have followed the recommended preparation above you’ll do just fine.
Step Four: Use the time well
Videoconferencing is a two way experience so you should ask the prospective tenant what they are looking for in a property.
Hopefully you will know your property and its area well so can comment on local schooling, amenities and transport links that are the common considerations tenants have when looking for a new place to call home.
One of the best things about doing your own viewings virtual or otherwise is that you can get a better feeling for the prospective tenant and whether you are happy for them to let your property. If you get a good feeling about the prospective tenant you may also wish to confirm:
- who is looking to move in
- agree the rent value and frequency
- the required deposit and
- moving in dates
This will help you plan for the next stage of the application including referencing and the drafting of tenancy agreements.
How RentiD can help landlords do good virtual viewings
The Start of Tenancy Assistant in our Digital Assistant app does the work of connecting you with prospective tenants enquiring about your property.
We appreciate that doing your own viewings whether virtual or in the real can be time consuming, so all applicants will have already answered some filtering questions so you can decide on their ‘first pass’ suitability for your property and whether or not you wish to diarise a virtual viewing with them.
The Start of Tenancy Assistant will then walk you and the prospective tenants through each step of the journey to the point of you approving references and agreeing the terms of the tenancy.
Landlords – how to do good virtual viewings in conclusion
We believe we are never going back to the way things were. Virtual property viewings will become an important part of the lettings marketing process not just because social distancing is likely to be the norm for some time yet, but also because it allows prospective tenants to better shortlist the properties that they are really interested in which ultimately saves everyone time.
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