With the boom in recent years of PropTech (where digital solutions are provided to property-based problems) and the increasing reliance on internet-connected devices to carry out many of our daily activities, it's vitally important that estate agents keep up with the times and provide customers with new innovations to improve their overall experience.
One feature which has proved more and more popular in recent years is virtual tours, which allow would-be tenants and buyers to experience a home without actually being there. While virtual tours can't recreate the sights, smells, sounds and touch of a property, they do act as an excellent sounding board and a way for people to decide if they want to take the next step.
This reduces the chances of time-wasters or people attending viewings on the basis of photos and gut instinct alone. In some cases, a virtual tour might even be enough to convince a buyer to make an offer or a tenant to decide that a rental property is right for them.
A rising number of agents now offer virtual tours as part of their client package. For busy, time-poor people, the opportunity to view a home from anywhere whether it be the comfort of their living room, on the move or sat at work could prove to be invaluable.
These tours are becoming increasingly sophisticated thanks to improvements in VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) technology, which is now becoming more accessible and mainstream.
At Gnomen, as part of our website packages, we will soon be offering a free, HD, 360-degree virtual tour photo and video camera, which will enable customers to view a range of properties when they visit your site. It allows people to get a feel for the size, layout, dimensions, look and vibe of the home all so important when it comes to deciding whether or not to buy or rent a property.
For a more immersive experience, offering users the feeling that they are actually there in the room/home they are viewing, VR headsets/goggles can really heighten the virtual tour experience.
Our virtual tour facilities are compatible with VR goggles/headsets, which have become far more affordable and accessible in recent times. A huge range of new products have entered the market, with prices dropping accordingly. Google, Facebook, Samsung, HTC and even M&S are all competing in this market, with headsets on offer for as little as £25 in some cases.
Typically, a basic VR headset costs between £25 and £60, but there are higher-end, more specialised headsets Oculus Rift leads the way in this market which are much more expensive. Expect to pay £250 and upwards, but they offer a far more immersive experience and a wider range of functions.
What's more, VR headsets and 3D VR glasses suitable for all iPhone and Android devices can be purchased cheaply.
What once seemed futuristic is now part of the mainstream and accessible, and it's certainly something agents should be considering to enhance their services.
Virtual tours are one part of an agent's armoury to help compete in a tech-savvy, highly digital world. They should be available on a website that is slick, glossy, user-friendly and pleasing on the eye.
With so many websites out there competing for attention, you need your website to stand out from the crowd. Cutting-edge features and points of difference can help you to achieve that. Virtual tours compatible with VR technology are one example of that, while features such as client log-in areas and social media integration can help to enhance your website offering.
We can design websites that look beautiful and work beautifully, fully optimised for mobile viewing on Android and iOS devices.
Equally, property software that enables you to manage all aspects of your business in one place is crucial if you want to grow and improve your business.
Our cloud-based property software system includes integrated office accounting so you always know your bottom line and allows you to keep your customers informed at all times. If you offer virtual tours, customers will need to know about it, which is where social media where you can inform a wide range of people at the click of a button comes in very handy.
To find out what Gnomen can do for you, you can call 0208 123 9019 or book a free demo here.