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Virtual Viewing (All you need to know)

What is Virtual Viewing? 

Virtual viewing is when a person with interest in purchasing or investing in property is having a virtual walkthrough (viewing) with the help of the agent or seller doing the walkthrough, showcasing the property via digital services as zoom, facetime, or any other software platforms.

Or let’s describe it that way:

Imagine walking into a beautifully-looking building for the first time, whether it’s a residential or commercial property. You start exploring its interior to admire the gorgeous rooms, furnishings, and a number of eye-catching sections and objects.

Now imagine experiencing the same process just by clicking and scrolling your PC or smartphone! That’s what we call Virtual Viewing! 

In the modern-day world of technological expertise, virtual viewing plays a significant role in providing the 21st-century property owner with digital guides that customers can enjoy instead of bombarding them with cumbersome and messy paperwork. 

Virtual viewing provides you multiple choices to explore. From a 360-degree exploration of your property, drone survey all around the exterior and surroundings, walkthrough video, to interactive, immersive VR experience and is ideal for both small and large scale properties. The virtual round trip has the potential to show the sophisticated details of the property and potential drawbacks.

You can use virtual viewing for both commercial and informational purposes, not only to build trust with customers or buyers but also to publicize knowledge about your company’s services, which eventually leads to customer satisfaction. 

How do Virtual Viewings Work?

At Tallbox, we provide outstanding one of its kind solutions for Virtual Viewings to property owners who are keen on using state-of-the-art 3D property technology. If you are looking forward to hiring an experienced team to showcase the interiors of your property to potential buyers or tenants, our virtual tour experts can make it work for you seamlessly.
Check our Virtual Staging services: link

How To – Virtual House Tours?

To create Virtual Viewings, we use advanced cameras, drones, the latest software to capture classic spatial images of your property. Our state-of-the-art cameras record the exact 3D dimensions of each space, which allows us to create a digital version of the same.

To ensure that potential buyers and tenants can virtually explore every room with an augmented reality experience, we enrich the images using computer-generated data that reflect an accurate digital version of your property.

Our 3D room-scanning technology goes the extra mile in ensuring potential customers experience the ins and outs of your property without the need to be physically present. They can take an enjoyable virtual walk through all rooms at the convenience of their time and in the comfort of their various locations 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year.

If you are in the real estate business or in the hotel sector, virtual viewing is the best way to boost your property sales and online bookings.

According to the latest statistics, it takes an average of 25 customers to view your property before you can make a successful first sale. What will be if you have to hold an open house for all of those potential buyers? Costly, lot’s of organization and with an unknown outcome.

Once we produce a 3D video tour of your property, it will be forever accessible online for viewing, which automatically means the interested buyers who turn up at the door, will know the property very well even before they see it in real.

Virtual viewings have proven that it’s the ultimate way for property owners to save time, energy, and resources that would have been used to carry out physical viewing. Even before potential buyers visit your property, a virtual tour is ideal because it separates genuinely interested buyers from jokers or “passers-by.”

The Law about Virtual Viewing 

Virtual reality is not a new concept in the real estate world. Over the years, property owners have increasingly used this method to provide prospective buyers and tenants with comprehensive video tours with the key purpose of closing a sale.

With the sudden increase in coronavirus cases and the ensuing lockdown in various parts of the world, virtual viewing has taken center stage. However, since physically visiting property after an exhaustive virtual viewing has become a challenge for buyers and tenants, the Property Ombudsman addressed the issues surrounding video viewings on April 30.

The law stipulates that when using Virtual Viewings to close a sale, property owners and agents should only use the computer-generated tours to filter out the serious buyers from uninterested ones. This means that as soon as a potential buyer or tenant shows genuine interest, the property owner must provide an offer on condition that the physical viewing is necessary before closing the sale.

Letting agents must adhere to some specific codes of practice. Besides allowing potential tenants to view the property physically, the law stipulates that they have to provide a downloadable version of the virtual tour to all potential tenants for future reference in case of a dispute. If property owners personally recorded the virtual tours, they must abide by the Consumer Protection Regulations.

The following are some specific tips on laws governing virtual viewing for buyers and tenants.

  1. After a virtual tour of a property, always consider reaching the final agreement ‘subject to a physical inspection.’
  2. Download or record all virtual tours before physically viewing the property. Don’t hesitate to ask the landlord or selling agent for a copy of the same. 
  3. Ask for a virtual view of the external parts of the property including the garden, neighborhood, roads, streets, etc.  
  4. After watching a recorded version of the property, insist on getting a live virtual tour for an authentic and real-time version.
  5. Pro Tip: Agents who use Virtual Viewings for flats or houses will characteristically rush you into closing the sale. Remember, it can be a challenge to get a refund.

Virtual Viewing at 360 (Cameras) DIY method

Virtual Viewing uses cameras that are able to capture numerous panoramic images of your property. The cameras capture 3D images that are impeccably edited and connected into one video to deliver a complete 360-degree tour that potential buyers and tenants can enjoyably explore.

In case you decide to save, or you are short on a budget, we have prepared some for the best choices for 360 cameras, which you can use for your DIY Virtual Viewing.

The 3D cameras work in such a way that it allows you to view your property in a virtual reality system, also referred to as virtual tour software.

The following ten 360 cameras are suitable in capturing impeccable panoramic images for virtual viewing even in smaller spaces (plus being very much cost-effective): 

#CameraWeightMax. Video resolutionStills ResolutionBattery Life
1Ricoh Theta V121g3840 × 1920 at 30fps14MP80 minutes
2Ricoh Theta Z1317.5g3840 × 1920 pixels at 30fps23 MP60 minutes
3Garmin VIRB 360160g2880 × 2880 (x2) at 30fps15MP65 minutes
4GoPro Fusion226g5228 x 2624 at 30fps18MP70 minutes
5GoPro Max163g5.6K spherical video at 30fps16.6MP108 minutes
6HumanEyes Vuze XR212g5760 x 2880 at 30fps18MP60 minutes
7Insta360 Evo113g5760 x 2880 at 30fps18MP65 minutes
8Insta360 One R130.5g5760 x 2880 at 30fps18.5MP70 minutes
9Insta360 One X115g5760 x 2880 at 30fps18MP60 minutes
10Kandao QooCam 8K228g8K at 30fps29.4MP70 minutes
Prices range from £250 to £700 and do not include the 3D software costs (mattereport)

These high-tech and sophisticated cameras are embedded with numerous sensors and dual senses that can effortlessly measure the spatial complexity and space of each room. 

The captured information is essential in creating an accurate 3D model of your property in such a way that you can walk through the entire building with a 360-degree positioning. 

Precisely, after taking photos and videos in 360-degree angles, you can use companion software to stitch them together with a 180-degree orientation with just one click. 

A 3D Virtual Viewing (Matterport)

Are you a real estate agent, a property manager or a broker?

I bet your biggest marketing challenge is providing potential buyers and tenants an accurate and detailed insight into your residential and commercial properties. Don’t worry! Matterport is your answer!

Many times, homeowners struggle to piece together the intricate details of their properties for virtual viewing due to shoddy photographic work. The end up presenting unrealistic images of rooms and fail to show the unique layouts of the property to potential buyers.
Matterport refers to a highly advanced three-dimensional camera technology used to produce ultramodern virtual tours in various sectors, including real estate, retail spaces, hotels, arenas, venues, etc.

At Tallbox, we work with proven partners with Matterport cameras that deliver an accurate digital version of your residential or commercial property. 

Our 360-degree virtual tours allow you to explore each property as potential buyers delight in the online walk through from the comfort of their locations and at their own leisure.

According to Matterport website:

  • 74% of property owners and agents who use 3D virtual tours win more listings
  • 95% of calls from potential buyers originate from 3D virtual tours.

This shows that Matterport’s 3D virtual tours have the potential to help you:

  • Close sales quicker
  • Communicate with potential buyers directly and professionally
  • Hasten response times from interested customers 
  • Increase customer satisfaction levels
  • Increase your property sales commissions
  • Minimize customer support calls 
  • Reach a wider audience both locally and globally

A 3D virtual viewing using Matterport is the ultimate way of giving your audience an accurately immersive experience that generates a more photographic and authentic outlook of your property.

Matterport’s 360 Virtual Tour technology goes the extra mile in helping you promote your listed properties, as potential customers can use this exciting technology to view their ins and outs online prior to visiting them physically, especially during this time of the coronavirus pandemic.

Matterport’s 3D virtual tours creates better connections between potential buyers and physical property by increasing the interactive ability of the digital walkthrough in just one scan. It allows interested buyers to gain an exquisite vision of every home as you can effortlessly share all key details by embedding codes to your website and listing portals.

Additionally we can help you set your virtual viewings by placing our cameras at intervals to capture wide-ranging digital walkthroughs including 360 panoramas, 3D floorplans, architectural measurements, interactive content, still photos and many more.

Advantages of Matterport’s 3D Virtual Viewing

  1. Reduced use of printed paperwork 
  2. Quicker completion and closing of sales
  3. Builds a community through its notification system
  4. A one-click visual view of all essential information about your property 
  5. Futuristic way of retaining the original digital version of the property
  6. Extracts more value from your Building Information Modelling (BIM) model
  7. A simplified handover process aided by an app for the 21st century empowered buyers
  8. Comes with in-app revenue-generating service for purchasing local services or consumables (built-in the software as an additional option)

Virtual Viewing with Augmented Reality

You may have already come across the terms, Virtual Reality (VR) Augmented Reality (AR). Right? And now on top, we have a new term (VV)!

But do you know how to compare or differentiate them?

With an exhaustive explanation about Virtual Viewing in the above sections, you should also tap into Augmented Reality.

There is a fragile line between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. While for Virtual Viewing – VR can be part of the offering and immerses you into a digitally enhanced version of your property by completely shutting out the physical world, AR attaches the physical environment of your property to a computer-generated one, as an overlay.

Augmented Reality does this by applying algorithms and sensors that can detect the position of cameras, and then overlays 3D images of your property for viewers through PC screens, smartphones and other suitable digital projections.

You can blend Virtual Viewing with Augmented Reality even without a head-mounted display. This combination provides you with more freedom of action, such as taking potential customers for a virtual tour of your property by overlaying a wide range of both real-life and fictional environments, for example, a swimming pool embedded in the mouth of a dragon. How cool is that!!

Since Virtual Viewing predominantly used VR, it immerses the user into a world of wonder using computer-simulated multimedia that replicates the real or imagined world and allows potential buyers and tenants to interact with the surrounding.

Generally, you can use Augmented Reality (AR) to add digital images and videos (real or edited) elements to a live view of your property by using an advanced camera on a smartphone. Some examples of AR experiences include the game Pokemon Go as well as the mobile app Snapchat.

On What Type of Homes Virtual Viewing Work Best? 

As property owners and real estate developers continue to rush into adopting Virtual Reality technology, it is important to note that it works best with specific types of homes.
Don’t get me wrong! Virtual Viewing can work for any home irrespective of the size or space. However, 360 tours can only work best with selected house types.

You can adopt this exciting technology and discover the potential of your exquisitely designed home since it allows potential customers to step inside and browse floor plans with 360 virtual tours.

To take full advantage of virtual tours in the real estate business, you need to avoid the same mistakes that property owners constantly make that ruin the experience for potential home buyers. Such mishaps lead to the loss of many potential inquiries on properties.

To address these issues, sellers and agents of homes must get it right from the word go when it comes to virtual tours. Below are some key elements that you must take into account to ensure all virtual tours work best to attract the attention of potential buyers.

Brightly Lit Homes

 A dimly looking room reflects gloom and sadness, while a well-lit home can transform your home to look vibrant, lively and liveable. Lighting has the potential to impress your prospective customers since it magnifies the overall feel, size and shape of your property. Virtual viewing works best in homes that have directional light and overall brightness that is focussed on specific objects, such as the floor, furniture, balcony, kitchen walls, ceiling, etc.  

You need to recognize that dim lighting can throw off the real size or shape of rooms when giving a virtual tour as some spaces may appear smaller or less attractive. In addition, when taking panoramic views, uneven lighting from room to room can generate shaky shots. Therefore, for dimly looking homes, always pick the best times proportionate to the sun’s position.

Homes with Attractive Outdoor Areas 

If your home is standing on a big compound, make sure your virtual tours capitalize on this opportunity by highlighting the outdoor areas. Genuinely welcoming virtual tours start with a street view followed by the surrounding compound and finally the walkthrough in the house. Making such a statement puts potential buyers in the shoes of guests who will visit them.
Homes with other outdoor areas such as patios, porch, balcony, or yard always look more versatile in a virtual tour. If you take a couple of stunning 360° shots of the outdoor area, you will highlight other unique elements including the lawn, driveway, patio furniture, and other areas throughout the space.

Homes with Beautiful Kitchens & Bathrooms

Do you know the heart of your home is the kitchen? So if the virtual tour uses an unenthusiastically half-hearted photo to present it, delete the entire footage! You must ensure that the camera walks through the entire space unhurriedly and magnificently to capture the intimate and intrinsic details in a 360-degree angle to give potential customers a feel of the entire space and existing appliances.

The same applies to the bathroom. Don’t scream your laziness by taking one shot of a cluttered and dirty bathroom with the hope that no one will notice. Always remove any stains, clutter, and unnecessary toiletries before finding the best angles to capture 360-degree shots for a more spacious impression without focussing solely on the toilet.

Homes with Natural, Human Viewpoints

When it comes to shooting 360-degree or panoramic images and videos of homes, you must be very meticulous. Always ensure that each position echoes a normal viewpoint that an individual would stop at when physically touring the home. Avoid taking the center of the room to capture images of objects. Come on! That’s too boring and repetitive!

Remember virtual viewing replicates the in-person experience as potential buyers tend to stand at specific positions that provide them with sweeping outdoor views. Always choose room corners and hallways for shooting locations to let people decide whether the entire property resonates with their aesthetic preferences and personal needs.

How to Prepare for Virtual Viewing? 

The power of first impressions lie in preparing your property for Virtual Viewing. This is a critical phase because it ensures that potential buyers and renters will appreciate the quality of your virtual tour cinematography. Virtual tours puts you in a win-lose situation so it’s your responsibility to prep every detail beforehand before diving into the entire process.

However, it is important to note that every property is different. Therefore, while the below tips are simply guidelines that could boost your chances of closing a sale, your preparation might be slightly different before a photographer arrives on site. The following checklist items are ideal for most properties and businesses:

Declutter 

This may sound obvious but it’s worth stressing it because of its utmost importance. Always make sure all surfaces and floors are free from paper, clothes, shoes, dust, books, post-it notes, or any unnecessary stuff that steals the impeccability of your shots. Dust surfaces until they are dry and conceal all cords and wires that may distract the eye during the photo shoot.

Cordon off Common Spaces

If you want to buy a home and the property agent sends you its virtual tour with people crisscrossing the footage, will you be interested anymore? I doubt! Prepping your property for Virtual Viewing calls for closing some common areas that may attract residents or guests. You can post “No Entry” signs and even ask apartment tenants to stay clear until you conclude the shooting of your property.

Ensure Light Bulbs are Working 

One of the blemishes that negatively affect the quality of home photoshoots is having different shades of light bulbs in different rooms. Some might not be working or just flickering and you may be forced to use other sources of light to take shots especially if it’s in the evening. Avoid such mishaps by ensuring that all lights are properly working for a perfect display or just turn them off.

Stage Your Property

To capture a visually appealing home, arrange the décor to reflect the outcome of your shots! Straighten things like picture frames, wall art, and lamp shades to radiate a visually pleasing atmosphere that resonates with the aesthetic preferences and personal needs of your potential customers. Avoid limiting the virtual viewing to seasons by using décor such like holiday lights.

Can You Buy Entirely via Virtual Viewing (without Physical Visit)?

First, it depends on your relationship with the Realtor and the type of investment. If you are doing a virtual tour to see aesthetics and you are well conversant with the dimensions, you can trust the services of a qualified and experienced inspector. It is possible because many property owners and agents have successfully closed long-distance deals in the past. You can ask the Realtor to capture a sweeping shot of the neighborhood, amenities, and how well each matches your needs.

However, if it’s too big of an investment, and you are unable to visit the property in-person or even see the neighborhood, consider making a physical visit to crosscheck everything from the virtual tour. After the virtual tour of the property, always consider reaching the final agreement ‘subject to a physical inspection.’ This means that you can discuss the terms but avoid putting it under contract from the video tour.

Let us know at george@tallbox.co.uk if you have a property that needs Virtual Viewing or simply if you have questions about how you can DIY.

George Nicola

VIRTUAL STAGING EXPERT / After eight years+ working in high-end design and property business I realised that we are missing a critical part of the property business. We were not providing enough value to these old and empty properties. Not every buyer would have the opportunity to see the potential of vacant property or in a bad state. The idea of Virtual Furniture Staging the property gives the buyer and seller an incredible chance in seconds of taking the critical decision.
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