Due to the government ban on open homes, agents are leaning on technology to allow prospective buyers to inspect a home within the government’s current guidelines.
Agents are using ingenious ways to conduct open inspections, from 3D virtual tours for listings through to a simple Zoom meeting, Facetime call or Facebook Live.
Kevin Choksi, real estate agent and auctioneer from Ray White, Cheltenham is one of these agents. For the properties he lists, he is producing video tours and 3D walkthroughs for online listings. He is also using Facebook Live to market the property to his existing audience and answer questions in real-time from viewers.
“We’re doing a lot of social media and text messaging, and both have been powerful for engagement because people have more time.
“We’re running a few live inspections. People can watch these inspections live and ask us any questions [about the property] while we’re at the inspection and we can show them around,” Mr Choksi said.
To explain how a virtual inspection works, we need to first break down this concept into two definitions. One way of thinking about a virtual inspection is a live inspection or online interaction with an agent, and the other way is a video or 3D virtual tour.
Let’s first talk about live inspections, or video calls with agents.
Live property inspections and video calls
Live inspections are generally pretty easy to understand. If an agent conducts an inspection online via Zoom you register for an account, and then join the meeting via a link. You will be able ask questions either by speaking to the agent directly through your microphone, or you can use Zoom’s chat feature to simply ask questions.
If an agent takes you on a tour of a property via FaceTime, you can simply ask them questions during the call. If an agent is holding a Facebook Live to show prospective buyers around a property, you just need to be logged into the platform and ready to watch once the agent broadcasts ‘live.’ You will be able to ask questions during this time directly in the interface.
If you’re interested in viewing a property remotely, simply reach out to the listing agent to request a time, or ask them if they’re planning to do any live streaming of the property. If you’re a seller, ask your agent how they intend to market and ‘show’ your property to as many buyers as possible, given the limitations on open homes.
Videos and 3D property walkthroughs
The second type of virtual inspection we’re going to go over is videos and 3D walkthroughs. Anyone who is interested in the real estate market would be familiar with marketing videos for properties. These videos can range from simple image slideshows, through to detailed videos of the property, with an agent talking to camera, footage of the home, and emotive music to capture the ambience of the space.
In this market, with restrictions on open homes, we expect video marketing to become more important for both buyers and sellers.
According to Sydney based real estate photographer and videographer Cameron Curdie, “video is becoming a really powerful tool for marketing a home during a time like this.”
Mr Curdie also said that he’s seeing a lot of agents move towards 3D virtual tours of properties in order to adapt to the government's tightened rules around social distancing.
“These 3D tours provide really in-depth views of a home along with helpful information around the measurements within a property, down to heights and widths.
“This is powerful for attracting buyers,” Mr Curdie said.
These 3D interactive tours are quite simple for both sellers and buyers to use. From a seller perspective, it’s as simple as speaking to your agent about whether they are able to organise this for you.
How we are helping agents and sellers
At OpenAgent we are working hand-in-hand with agents to give both them and sellers access to some of the latest 3D video technology. We are covering all of Metro Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and major regional cities (as well as within a ~25km radius of regional city centres) such as Wollongong, Geelong, Newcastle and Gosford.
These 3D virtual tours maintain an accurate ‘digital twin’ of a property, allowing buyers to see a 3D floor plan and to digitally ‘walk through’ and see measurements of a space. If a buyer wants to zero-in on a feature of the property, like tiles, walls and floors, they can do this. It simply is the closest thing to walking through a property in real life.
There are plenty of pros to conducting virtual inspections, particularly at a time like this where social distancing restrictions are really changing the way buyers can see a property. A virtual inspection, in some ways, will weed out any ingenuine buyers, as only those who are truly interested will reach out to an agent for a 1:1 private inspection.
While it’s true that a buyer is unable to see the quirks and qualities of a property that you would only notice if you were there in person, this is still something that’s obtainable via a private inspection with an agent.