Tips from Interiors Expert Kate Watson-Smyth on Virtual Viewings When Buying or Selling a Home
Virtual viewings are on the increase according to a new study* by the UK’s technology-led estate agent, Purplebricks, with one in six buyers willing to make an offer without setting foot in the front door.
On the rise in virtual tours, Angela Wallace, Divisional Sales Director at Purplebricks, said: “The current pandemic has thrown up many new challenges for buyers and sellers across the UK. But this has heralded a new era of virtual house hunting and homeowners are quickly adopting this new way of buying and selling homes.”
Kate’s Virtual Viewing Tips for Buyers:
- Look beyond the décor as this can easily be changed. Look at the ‘bones’ of the house to decide if it’s right for you.
- Assess the “bone structure” of the property: are there lots of original features? Does the fireplace work? Are there floorboards under that carpet?
- Check the windows; are they double glazed, UPVC? These things can be expensive to add or replace but will affect the temperature of the rooms as single glazing will let out a lot of heat, as well as letting the cold in.
- Which direction does the property face – north or south? South will be hot in summer whereas a northern light will be steady all day long.
- Check out the view: does the property overlook a car park or shops? Noise is often one of the biggest deterrents when it comes to buying a property and might be hard to establish on a virtual viewing.
- Look into the lighting: Does the room you are seeing need the lights on all day, or is it filled with natural light? You don’t want a gloomy, badly lit room if it is one you’re working from home.
- Look at the size of the furniture. is that a two-seater sofa or a three-seater? How many people can sit around that kitchen table? Count the kitchen cupboards (and compare with what you already have).
- Investment points. Bathrooms and kitchens are the most expensive rooms to replace. You might have to live with what you buy for a while, so have a close look at all the appliances.
- Water pressure: Ask about water pressure in the shower (if it’s a live viewing ask the property seller to turn it on).
- Check out the storage. Start with the hall – where are their coats? Where do they keep the big, awkward stuff like the vacuum cleaner and the ironing board?
Kate’s Virtual Viewing Tips for Sellers:
- First impressions still count: Start with the hall. Make sure it’s tidy with no piles of coats, bags and shoes spilling out. Open the doors to the other rooms so it’s as light as possible.
- 360-degree view. Give a full 360-degree pan of each room so they can see the corners and understand the space and know that you aren’t hiding a broken window or a pile of laundry that has nowhere to go.
- Acknowledge problem areas; if you have a small dark room, dress it to be cosy and inviting and show how you use it – e.g. as a kid’s TV room, home office.
- Tidy up the obvious things. Make sure the pictures are straight on the walls, the cushions are plumped and the curtains fully pulled back to let in more light.
- Routine maintenance helps achieve a house sale: make sure all the handles are present and fixed on, touch up any scuffed skirting boards and paintwork.
- Clean the windows. You want your home to appear light, bright and well-cared for, so clean windows add to a general sense of cleanliness and a cared for space.