Property

Britain’s in love with virtual reality house viewings

By Kitty Knowles 8 June 2017
Summary

VR house viewings are transforming the British property market.

‘Spacious’ box rooms, mouldy corners, and ceilings so low you can’t actually stand. There’s a lot to hate about house hunting.

Days can be wasted visiting unsuitable properties having been lured in by cherry-picked photos taken with wide-angle lenses and photoshopped to excess.

Now though, the rise of virtual reality viewings is shining light on unseen corners, and it’s a win-win-win for the British property market.

Buyers, sellers, and estate agents alike.

How it works

Today it’s already possible to go on a virtual property tour from the comfort of your home.

For the most immersive experience you should use a virtual reality headset, but if you don’t have one, you can also manually click through a virtual space on your smartphone, laptop or computer.

More often than not, you’ll start by the front door. You can then follow a trail of blue dots, through and around the property to feel like you’re moving around.

If you have a VR headset you simply hover your gaze on the blue dot to decide what direction you wish to move, or if you don’t, you can click about with your mouse.

What is fantastic is that you can also angle your view in any direction (by physically looking up and down, or by dragging your mouse).

You can check the ceiling for cracks or admire the finish of the wooden floor below your feet.

The ability to turn in any direction defies misleading photographers who might only capture the best most beautiful side of a room.

You can see a model of your property in full. Pic: Matterport.
You can see a model of your property in full. Pic: Matterport.

Great for all

Matterport is just one company helping estate agents make virtual viewing a reality – to dates it’s captured over 500,000 properties and has the biggest VR library of physical spaces in the world.

“Since opening our EMEA office in London, we have seen a huge demand,” Matterport’s David Rabee told The Memo.

“Buying and renting properties is one of biggest transactions people have to make in their lifetimes [and] VR enables a customer to have an emotional viewing of a property as they actually feel present in the space.”

“It will become mainstream.”

Cardiff estate agents Jeffrey Ross has already embraced virtual viewing with great success.

“For us it reduces the number of viewings, but increases the ratio from viewing to offer so it’s actually saving us a lot of time when we’re out in the field showing people around,” said the company’s Head of Sales, Elliott Hooper Nash, in a recent interview.

In turn, sellers get to better showcase their house, and can even take home a digital memory for once they’ve moved on.

“They love it because it shows their house in the best light [and] they can keep the link for their phones as a souvenir,” says Hooper Nash.

“They can walk around their house in the future, even when they’ve moved out, to remember what is was like.”

Will you say no to disappointing properties with hidden nasties?

Virtual house viewing has arrived – and we love it.