A branch of The Property Franchise Group’s Martin & Co brand is stopping potential tenants from booking a physical tour of a home until they have completed a virtual tour.
Kevin Hall, director of the Kent branch of Martin & Co, lets around 30 units a month and says: “It has changed the way we work. Covid has been the spur because we needed a mechanism for virtual tours. We weren’t doing in-person viewings, so this was the perfect solution. We found that it’s such a good thing to use that we’re not going back.”
As a result it says it needs just one negotiator to cover its 600 properties and suggests that after a virtual tour, an in-person viewing becomes more like a second viewing.
“We are getting 50, sometimes up to 200, leads on every rental. As well as asking applicants to fill in a short questionnaire, we ask those who qualify to view a virtual tour and that’s when we have the conversations. It speeds up the process massively as there is so much demand at the moment. If we didn't have the virtual tours, I genuinely do not know how we cope” adds Hall.
Another agent, Ashley Rigg of the Bristol Property Partnership, says: “The Bristol lettings market is crazy. We have four negotiators working across the city and the rule is you don’t leave the office unless the applicant has viewed the virtual tour.
“It just saves so much time in terms of reducing wasted viewings. It’s also perfect for our student properties; we can often show parents a tour when before they would have come in person to a second viewing.”
The two agencies are cited by industry supplier Made Snappy, whose chief executive Mark McCorrie claims: “Agents can use their time more effectively, while landlords and tenants benefit from a more efficient and often faster rental process. We’re working with agents who get up to 200 leads per rental property at the moment – that’s just not sustainable unless they can make the letting process more efficient. And that’s precisely what virtual tours deliver.”