Setting up a remote viewing
With the world still battling the effects of Covid-19, numerous industries across the globe have ground to a halt. However, it is to the relief of millions across the UK that the property market is finally starting to reopen, after the government eased restrictions.
Obviously, the reopening of the housing market does not suddenly mean that viewings are going to continue as they normally would have. People are understandably reluctant to suddenly break social distancing guidelines, which leaves estate agents wondering how they might conduct viewings safely. The answer is remote viewings.
What is a remote viewing?
A remote viewing is exactly what it sounds like. It is where the estate agent or current vendor/tenant shows a potential customer around a home virtually. By virtually, we mean that the potential customer can view the property from the comfort of their home, be it on their laptop, tablet, or phone.
Some agents or vendors choose to ‘live stream’ the viewing, using their smartphone to film the viewing as the potential customer watches it on their device. Others opt for expensive ‘3D virtual tours’, but this technology is out of reach for most estate agents.
Here at OneDome, we’ve already been encouraging home movers to request remote video viewings. Where a home mover would usually request a viewing for one of your properties, they can now easily request a video viewing as well. This request will be sent straight to your inbox and it is a simple case of confirming whether or not you can provide a remote viewing. If you can’t offer remote viewing as a service, don’t worry. We’ve made it clear to customers that that not all agents will be able to provide remote viewing.
As a result of this new functionality, we want to help estate agents learn how they can offer potential customers a remote viewing option. Read on to find out how you can give your customer a remote property viewing.
How can I organise a remote viewing?
Before you start trying to organise a remote viewing, it is first important to get a brief understanding of the sorts of technology available. Aside from the technology mentioned above, there are also options such as a live video conference. One such company offering this is Zoom, who are already helping businesses adapt to no longer being able to conduct meetings in person (or engage in a spot of water-cooler chat). If you haven’t yet heard of Zoom, it is basically an online video conference platform that lets multiple people dial into a meeting, virtually.
How can something like Zoom help with remote viewing?
Zoom might be great for virtual meetings, but it also works remarkably well for virtual property viewings. By giving multiple people the option to dial into a virtual, video meeting, it means that everyone involved in a property viewing can get the tour without leaving their house or office. You could have the estate agent dialed in, providing a commentary of the property, as the current occupant films each room. Potential customers dialed into the video conference can also ask questions to both the agent and the occupant throughout the tour.
What other options are there?
The popular messaging app, WhatsApp, is also capable of being used to film something and broadcast it live. WhatsApp is already one of the most popular messaging apps on the planet, so there’s a good chance potential home movers already have it installed on their smartphone.
Pre-recorded ‘video walkthroughs’ can work too. You would need to get in touch with the vendor/tenant, ask them to film their property, and then get them to send you the footage via email. You should make sure they cover each room in the building as thoroughly as they can; a quick 5-second clip of the master bedroom won’t be enough to entice a potential home mover!
How can I set these up?
We’ve listed a few brief guides for setting up some of the technology options discussed:
To host a meeting, load up the Zoom app on either your mobile or desktop. Then, click the ‘New Meeting’ button and then click ‘Start With Video’. The Zoom app will then create a link, which you can share with the vendor/tenant and the potential home mover. One downside to Zoom is that you would need to make sure that everyone involved has the Zoom app downloaded.
If you, the vendor/tenant, and your potential customer have access to the Facebook app on your phone, you can use the app to live stream a property viewing. You will need to get the vendor/tenant to set up the live stream, but with our quick set up guide below, you can easily walk them through it:
- If you haven’t already, download the Facebook app to your smartphone or tablet.
- Once downloaded, open the app and create a profile (if you don’t already have one).
- After creating a profile, coordinate with who you want to watch the stream and add each other as friends.
- This way, when you set up the live stream, you can keep it private and invite only those who you want to view it.
- On your home page, you will see a small ‘Live’ button.
- Tap the ‘Live’ button, then allow Facebook access to your camera and microphone if prompted.
- In the top left corner, you will see ‘Public – Post’. Tap this, then tap ‘See More’.
- Tap ‘Specific friends’. From here you can search for and invite the people who you want to view your live stream.
- Then, click the arrow in top left to go back to ‘Live settings’. Scroll down and select ‘Send notifications’ (it will be blue if it is turned on).
- Click the arrow in the top left to go back to the live camera. You can add a description of the video where it says ‘Tap to add a description’.
- When that is done, you are now ready to go live! Simple click ‘Start Live Video’ and those invited to watch will be notified.
WhatsApp features live video calling with multiple people, making it an ideal app to use for remote viewing. To set up a group video call, follow these steps:
- Download the app if you haven’t already and ask those you wish to video call to do so as well.
- Open the app, then tap the chat button in the bottom right corner.
- Here you will see the option to add a new contact. Tap the ‘New contact’ button.
- You can now add and save contact details.
- Once added, return to the ‘Select contact’ screen and tap the person you want to video call.
- In the new window, you will a video camera icon next a phone icon in the top right of the screen.
- Tap this to begin a one-on-one video call, then tap the ‘Add participant’ button in the top right corner.
- You can now invite multiple contacts into the video call
As mentioned above, you would need to ask the vendor/tenatn to record a video of their home. First off, they will need to make sure they cover every aspect of their property, which will help to give the potential customer the best possible impression. With this in mind, tell them to be thorough and treat the camera as if it were the viewpoint of the potential home mover.
Once they have created the video, they will then need to send it to you. There are numerous ways of sending large video files and for information on how to do so, click here to read a helpful guide.
Tips for making a remote viewing a success
You will need to work out the details of the remote viewing between yourself, the property occupant, and the potential customer. If it is to be a live tour of the property, you must all decide upon a time to do it that works for everyone. Things such as a commentary of the viewing should be decided upon too; will you provide the commentary or will the vendor/tenant?
How can OneDome help?
We are the first property website in the UK capable of connecting every step of home buying and selling. As part of our initiative to help agents make it through these difficult times, we are also the very first property website in the UK to offer home movers the option to request a remote viewing. How this works is that when a customer goes to book a viewing request on one of your properties, they will get the option to request a remote viewing. This request will be sent to you and you can then easily confirm whether or not you can do the remote viewing.
Remote viewing is still a technology in its infancy, so naturally not every agent will be able to offer it as a service. This is why we’ve made it clear to potential home movers that whilst they’re welcome to request a remote viewing, not all agents will be able to guarantee a remote viewing. If you think you can provide a remote viewing then that’s great, but if you don’t think you can, you can still phone or email them to let them know you don’t currently offer the service.
Signing up to OneDome
Signing up for a OneDome account provides a range of benefits to help you and your business. Doing so means you get access to our range of powerful online tools, including our easy-to-use messaging service. You can use this messaging service to communicate with the vendor/tenant and the potential customer to give them the details of the remote viewing. Or if you can’t offer a remote viewing, the messaging service makes letting the customer know a quick and easy process. With a OneDome account, you can also manage viewing requests with ease, including the ability to accept and reschedule viewing quests.
For more information on how else OneDome can help, click here to see our offer to estate agents in full.