| Saffron Lawton

How to Limit Your Risks When Viewing Properties Virtually

The pandemic has certainly revolutionised the way many industries operate and in particular for estate agents and lettings agents in Torbay .

So while many of us will be glad to see the end of the current restrictions, some new working techniques are undoubtedly here to stay for us – one of those being virtual viewings!

What Is a Virtual Home Viewing?

As the name suggests, a virtual home viewing is where a potential buyer, or tenant, views a property via a video tour rather than visiting in person.

Virtual home tours are not a totally new concept – many estate agents have been videoing properties for years. However, they were previously used sparsely and mainly aimed at overseas buyers.

The stay-at-home orders issued by the government throughout the pandemic meant that the property industry has had to adapt, and so came the evolution of the virtual viewing.

Virtual viewings involve connecting you, the viewer, through a video call and walking you through the property. Virtual tours can show every detail of the property.

If you, as the potential buyer, are happy with the property at this point. You can then choose to book a physical viewing or place an offer based on what you have seen.

What are the Benefits of Virtual Viewings?

A virtual property viewing offers substantially more flexibility for both the buyer and seller. Especially for buyers who are relocating, being able to view a prospective new property without physically being there is logistically much more straightforward.

The current property market is still moving at a blistering pace. This is due to several factors, including the recent stamp duty holiday and the 5% deposit scheme. So, virtual viewings allow potential buyers and tenants to view houses and place offers in record times. Viewers who prefer to visit in person may risk missing out on those properties altogether.

Not only is virtual viewing more convenient, but it can save you money too. Fuel costs and train fares are no longer needed, meaning viewers can afford to ‘visit’ many more homes than they might have otherwise.

Viewing Virtually? Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions

The concept of viewing a home virtually can seem strange at first. However, you must ask the same questions you would consider if you were viewing in person.

Remember to ask about the local area and the neighbours, which will give you a better idea about the property. Also, ask the agent or owner to turn on a tap or the shower to demonstrate the water pressure. And don’t be afraid to ask other questions as the virtual tour progresses.

Always View The Exterior of the Property Too

Ensure you ask the agent to take the camera outside, showing the front of the house and the street. You will then be able to gain an understanding of how busy the road is.  

Also, ask to see the gardens and any outbuildings or summerhouses. The photos are often very flattering, but a video will give you the most accurate representation.

Ask for a Video Recording

Many agents will send you a video of the property before the virtual viewing. This will generally be a full tour of the home, which details every room and the garden. These videos are often beneficial and will show the house from the best possible angle.

You can Offer ‘Subject To a Physical Inspection’

Thousands of buyers and renters across the country are more than happy to place offers on homes based on a virtual viewing. However, understandably, many are not.

It may be the case that you have virtually viewed a home that you love but are simply not prepared to part with your cash until you have physically stepped into the property.

In this case, buyers are within their rights to place an offer ‘subject to a physical viewing’.

If the landlord or owner is happy to proceed, they will hold the home for you until you can view it in person. However, you must be aware that the housing market is moving rapidly, and therefore the second viewing will likely need to be within a few days.

What is the Future of Virtual Viewings?

Virtual viewings became popular due to necessity, but it looks like they will stick around for good. Moving forward, we expect virtual viewings to supplement the physical alternative rather than replace it.

This means all agents will be able to cater to the needs of all buyers and sellers, regardless of whether restrictions are in place.


Ridgewater Sales and Lettings are your local property experts for the Torbay area. Call us on 01803 525100 or email neil@ridgewater.co.uk to chat with a member of our friendly and experienced team.