Virtual Home Tours: Pros and Cons
Tuesday Oct 27th, 2020
There’s no denying that the ongoing pandemic has changed the way homes are bought and sold. Virtual house tours have become the new norm in the real estate industry. A lot of people prefer viewing a property from the comfort and safety of their home before shortlisting it for a walkthrough tour. These digital tours are also extremely beneficial for those planning to relocate to a different city. But realistically, virtual house tours aren’t the same as being at a home in-person. So, are they worth your time? Here are our pros and cons of conducting a virtual tour:
HOW IT WORKS
Virtual home tours, also known as 3D house tours, allow prospective buyers to take a look at the property from the comfort of their home, all you need is an internet connection. Compared to the regular video listings, which only allow home shoppers to see the place from certain angles, the virtual home tours are much more interactive.
Thanks to the advancement in technology, buyers now have the ability to explore certain parts of the house and have full control over which room they want to focus on. If you are having a hard time imagining it, think of it like Google Maps. Just like how Street View allows you to see the entire street from every angle, virtual house tours allow real estate investors and homebuyers to peer into every corner of the property without actually visiting it.
Matterport is a prime tool for virtual showings and is what we use to showcase all of our listings. This innovative platform allows us to create and customize digital, 3D representations of seller’s homes. The result is a stunning panoramic walkthrough—one that makes buyers feel almost as though they’re viewing the property in person.
ADVANTAGES OF VIRTUAL HOUSE TOURS
THEY ARE COMFORTABLE AND CONVENEINT
What could be better than touring prospective new homes while wearing sweats or pajamas? All you need is a smartphone or laptop along with a stable internet connection and you are good to go. In a digital setting, you can tour a home on your own terms. If you don’t like a property, you don’t have to spend more than a few minutes touring it. On the other hand, if a place does strike your fancy, you can virtually visit it as many times you like and stay there for however long you want. It’s convenient and low-stress, especially during this period of social distancing.
YOU WILL SAVE A LOT OF TIME
For walkthrough real estate tours, you have to travel around the city for several hours in order to visit a few different properties on the same day. So, if you were looking to buy a home, you’d likely spend a good chunk of your time navigating through traffic, finding the correct address, looking for parking space, dealing with foot traffic and much more. With virtual home tours, you can tour properties all across the city within minutes. You can tour the same house multiple times and cover the distance between each property with a few clicks of your mouse. Also, if you like a certain house or apartment, you can invite your family members to take a virtual tour of the property whenever you want
EASY TO REFRESH YOUR MEMORY
One of the difficulties of seeing a house is not only trying to remember everything you saw but remembering what you didn't see. Did the kitchen island have a breakfast bar? Did the home office have built-in cabinets? Was there a wet-bar in the basement? A well-shot virtual tour allows potential buyers to go back and re-analyse a property as many times as they want without having to disturb a homeowner. The most comprehensive tours have even begun to include 3D walkabouts of the outside areas as well as the interior of the house.
THEY ARE INTERACTIVE AND RELIABLE
Looks can be deceiving in marketing pictures. We've all seen wide lens photos where a room looks as wide as a football field only to see the same room in person and find out it's actually as narrow as a bowling alley. Virtual house tours present a realistic picture of the property and are much more reliable than viewing listing photos or videos. They are also very interactive, as the prospective buyer has full control over which part of the house they want to see and which corner to want to focus on. Touring a house digitally also gives you a fair idea of its layout without having to visit the property in person. People rarely photograph the hallways and entryways while putting their house up for sale. However, virtual tours eliminate that hurdle and allow you to get a better understanding of the floor plan without leaving your home.
BIGGER AND BETTER REACH
Using the Matterport technology, we can market your home to many buyers at once. Often, that means increased interest in your property—and more offers. With virtual showings, you can cut down on the number of in-person tours so you can also avoid having to vacate on a regular basis—and you won’t have to worry about buyers coming and going so your home doesn’t always have to be in show-ready shape.
DISADVANTAGES OF A HOME TOUR
"There Is No Way People Will Buy Homes From a Virtual Tour"
There’s one significant downside to showing a property virtually. The truth is, some purchasers won’t feel comfortable buying a home without seeing it in person—no matter how good their virtual tour is. Of course, that attitude is starting to change for some buyers due to the pandemic.
TECHNOLOGY ISN’T ALWAYS RELIABLE
Although technology makes communicating super handy, some may not be too crazy about the idea. Some prefer a more personal interaction instead of talking to a computer screen. Also, some may not be as technologically savvy, and they may have trouble with setting up calls or accessing the internet. It may seem like more a hassle than a solution.
YOU WON’T LEARN ANYTHING ABOUT THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
Real estate virtual tours may give you a realistic view of the property, but it won’t provide you with much information about the neighbourhood it’s located in. Unless you are already familiar with the area, you won’t know if the property is located next to an abandoned building, an empty lot, or a general store. However, you shouldn’t let this con of virtual house tours discourage you. If you like a property and want to learn about its surroundings, you can turn on the Street View on Google Maps and take a virtual look around the neighbourhood. This will help you shortlist the properties and you can visit them in person later to finalize your decision.
LACK OF PHYSICAL INTERACTION WITH THE HOME
While 3D house tours enable you to see the space without visiting it, it won’t give you an accurate idea of its infrastructure or help you evaluate its condition. Moreover, you won’t be able to gauge how much natural light the property gets through a virtual tour. You also won’t be able to tell how it smells inside the house. The same goes for old electronic appliances, leaking pipes and non-functioning electric sockets, as you can only spot these issues during an in-person home inspection.
WON’T GET A CHANCE FOR FACE-TO-FACE DISCUSSION
One of the advantages of seeing a house in person, is getting to ask the sales agent about various aspects of the property in real time. Of course, anyone can talk a good game over the phone, but unless you visit the property yourself to inspect its strong and weak points, you won’t be able to get the full picture. The interior finishing, condition of the floors, lack of electrical outlet and water stain under the sink are some of the basic issues homebuyers come across during walkthrough real estate tours. If you visit the property in person, it won’t be easy for the seller to hide these imperfections, allowing you to negotiate.
WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU
Virtual tours are becoming increasingly common, which is a good thing for both buyers and sellers. When they’re done well, they can lead to a more efficient (and less stressful) process.
If you’re on the buying side, we can help you reduce any risk associated with making a purchase decision based on a remote viewing. If you’re compelled to see a property firsthand, we can also help you take that step safely. The important thing is to feel comfortable with the process if you’ll be taking part in it—so ask us if you have any questions!