With mortgage interest rates rising and lenders becoming ever more cautious, estate agents need to concentrate on quality marketing, according to the UK’s leading visual content partner, FocalAgent.
Some analysts fear a house price drop of 10% over the next 12 months as well as a market slowdown. Potential buyers with access to finance will therefore have plenty of choice when it comes to purchasing their new home.
“Sellers are going to have to stand out from the crowd,” said FocalAgent CEO Lee Wainwright.
He believes the use of video images to complement traditional stills in house sale listings can boost enquiries by 400%.
“And they can help landlords and letting agents, too. Our Matterport 360 degree room-by-room viewing tool offers buyers an opportunity to view a property from the comfort of their living room. This is a huge advantage to people leading busy lives.
“The chances are that the marketplace is going to get a lot tougher as interest rates rise and lenders put a squeeze on mortgages. And agents need to use all the tools at their disposal to achieve sales.”
Today, more than 70% of property searches take place on a mobile device.
“We are living and working in a digital world,” says Wainwright.
“And that needs to be reflected in the way we operate as businesses. We have to embrace new technologies as they emerge.”
Win more listings
The fully immersive sensation offered by the 360 degree Matterport 3D virtual tour is an example of the changing way buyers are approaching the property market.
“They are incredibly popular,” says Wainwright. “Buyers and renters no longer have to wait for a viewing day to be shown around a house. They can have a walk-through online on their laptop or mobile at a time to suit them.”
“If it’s a guided tour, the agent will accompany them and talk them through the various features of the property. If it’s unguided and buyers are literally seeing it for themselves, they can re-visit it countless times to make sure they’re really interested and show friends and family.”
Matterport estimate that three-quarters of all estate agents say the virtual tour tool helps them win more listings and grow market share. And they claim that it sells and lets properties faster and for more money.
But while encouraging the use of the latest technology, Wainwright urges that agents do not turn their backs on traditional methods.
“Everyone still uses stills,” he says.
“And most are using video, too. Short videos are really good at showing the area in which a property is located. They can feature local services and points of interest which all help to market a property to its fullest potential.”
Research by US multi-national conglomerate, 3M, shows that visual information is processed in the human brain 60,000 times faster than text.
“That’s why it’s vital that both letting and selling agents take a quality approach to visual imagery when making marketing decisions,” added Wainwright.