Home Business Insights & Advice The future of leasing? Why virtual viewings are here to stay

The future of leasing? Why virtual viewings are here to stay

by Sarah Dunsby
24th Jun 24 10:20 am

The world of real estate has been undergoing a transformation, driven by technological advances and changing consumer behaviors. Among the most significant shifts is the rise of virtual viewings, a trend that gained traction during the COVID-19 pandemic and shows no signs of waning.

As we look to the future of leasing, it’s clear that virtual viewings are here to stay, reshaping how properties are marketed, viewed, and rented. However, even with these advancements, landlords must ensure their investments are protected. Unexpected events can still occur, even with the best tenants. That’s why CIA Landlords works with the UK’s leading insurance firms to find the most suitable landlord insurance at an affordable rate.

The evolution of virtual viewings

Virtual viewings leverage various technologies such as 3D tours, video walkthroughs, and augmented reality to provide potential tenants with a comprehensive, immersive experience of a property without the need for a physical visit. Initially adopted out of necessity when lockdowns and social distancing measures were in place, virtual viewings have now become a preferred method for many.

The convenience factor

One of the primary reasons virtual viewings are becoming a staple in the leasing process is convenience. Prospective tenants can view multiple properties from the comfort of their homes, reducing the time and effort required for in-person visits. This is particularly beneficial for those relocating from different cities or countries. Instead of planning multiple trips, they can narrow down their choices online and only visit the shortlisted properties, saving time and travel costs.

Enhanced decision-making

Virtual viewings provide a more detailed and accurate representation of a property compared to traditional photos or descriptions. With 3D tours, viewers can navigate through rooms, zoom in on details, and get a true sense of the layout and space. This level of detail helps potential tenants make more informed decisions, reducing the likelihood of surprises or disappointments upon moving in. Additionally, features like augmented reality can allow users to visualise how their furniture will fit in the space, enhancing their decision-making process.

Broader reach for landlords

For landlords and property managers, virtual viewings open up the market to a wider audience. By offering a virtual tour, anyone can view properties anywhere, at any time. This global reach can be a significant advantage, especially in competitive rental markets. Moreover, virtual viewings can lead to faster leasing cycles as they streamline the viewing process, allowing properties to be rented out more quickly.

Cost-effective marketing

Creating a virtual tour might seem like a costly endeavour initially, but it can be more cost-effective in the long run. Traditional open houses and multiple in-person viewings can incur significant expenses in time and resources. Virtual tours, once created, can be used repeatedly and shared easily across various platforms, maximising their utility. Additionally, properties marketed with virtual tours often stand out in listings, attracting more attention and potentially leading to quicker rentals.

Environmental impact

Reducing the need for multiple in-person viewings also has a positive environmental impact. Fewer physical visits mean fewer car trips, reducing carbon emissions associated with property viewings. As more industries strive to adopt sustainable practices, virtual viewings offer a green alternative that aligns with broader environmental goals.

Overcoming initial scepticism

Despite the clear advantages, virtual viewings initially faced skepticism. Concerns ranged from the quality and accuracy of the virtual representations to the fear of technological barriers for less tech-savvy individuals. However, as technology has advanced and become more user-friendly, these concerns have diminished. High-definition video, interactive 3D tours, and user-friendly interfaces have made virtual viewings more accessible and reliable.

The human element

While virtual viewings offer numerous benefits, they only partially replace the human touch in leasing. Personal interactions with landlords or agents are still crucial for building trust and addressing specific concerns. Hybrid approaches, where virtual viewings are complemented with live video calls or limited in-person visits, are becoming popular. This blend ensures that the convenience of virtual tours is balanced with the personal connection that many tenants value.

Future innovations

The future of leasing is likely to see even more innovations in virtual viewings. Technologies like virtual reality (VR) could take property tours to the next level, offering fully immersive experiences where potential tenants feel as if they are physically walking through the property. AI-powered chatbots could provide instant responses to queries during virtual tours, enhancing the user experience. Moreover, blockchain technology could streamline the leasing process, making it more secure and transparent.

The shift towards virtual viewings in the leasing market is more than a temporary response to a global crisis; it represents a fundamental change in how properties are marketed and rented. The convenience, cost-effectiveness, and enhanced decision-making capabilities provided by virtual tours are compelling reasons for their continued use.

As technology continues to evolve, virtual viewings will become even more sophisticated, cementing their place in the future of leasing. For both landlords and tenants, embracing this change means staying ahead in an increasingly digital world.

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