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Agencies won’t allow ‘real’ viewing until virtual one undertaken

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.”

  • Vilesh Rew

    They're a bit slow on the uptake. We've been doing this for over a year.

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    Sounds like a good reason to dis-instruct your agent to me.

    Roger  Mellie

    Virtual viewings are standard across most agents now and it just sharpens the quality of applicant that views as they are already interested. It's a much better way of doing business for all.

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    Had one of mine on the market but needed to download some meaningless app to see it on line. Decided I would not waste my time on that one but how many prospects lack the ability or wilingness to not be able to view on-line.
    Shot in the foot methinks.

  • Roger  Mellie

    If done properly it's a winner. Few agents are doing it well, but are improving. We don't go out either until the virtual viewing has happened, we use Matterport to huge success. Plus, no need to waste money on a photographer as the Matterport takes perfect photos with it's 9 lenses. It's paid for itself time and time again.

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    Whilst a good idea, seems like an excuse for redundancies and pay negotiators less. Good quality physical viewings can take place as normal with a good robust process of qualifying leads, simple.

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    We have been doing videos for over a year now and it is working out well for us, help whittle down time wasters.

    Saying that, some of our properties have ongoing decorating/maintenance work, or a tenant still living there, so no video yet. We are not going to say no to a viewing and potentially miss out on a let.


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