Landlords – how to do good virtual viewings
Landlords – how to do good virtual viewings
During lockdown, the Government have recommended that no prospective tenant viewings, periodic property inspections or non-essential repairs are to take place.
So how can landlords continue to market their properties and show them off to prospective tenants whilst lockdown restrictions are in force and social distancing continues to be the new normal for many more months to come?
At RentiD we are still getting enquiries about our landlords’ properties listed on Rightmove, Zoopla and PrimeLocation from prospective tenants. And we were already big supporters of landlords doing their own property viewings.
So we’ve pulled together our simple, easy to follow tips for how to organise, prepare, shoot and run a good virtual viewing. You neither require fancy equipment or the skills of a showman to do this successfully.
Landlords – how to do good virtual viewings in four steps
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. During lockdown, everyone apart from key workers are going to be at home for most of the day in any case. Even once lockdown restrictions are relaxed, we believe home working will become a more regular occurrence for those that are able to do so.
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.
Pre-virtual tour planning and preparation
A little bit of preparation should lead to a smoother and successful virtual 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.
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.
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.
At RentiD, we are currently working on introducing top quality virtual tours to add to your Rightmove and Zoopla listings post lockdown along with reinstating our optional Managed Viewing services so you don’t have to do these yourself.
Landlords – how to do good virtual viewings in conclusion
Even once lockdown lifts, we believe we are never going back to the way things were. Virtual 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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