Man with VR goggles
New and emerging technology has allowed buyers to snap up properties sight unseen. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio (Pexels).
  • Technology has always been available to assist buyers search for properties
  • Emerging technologies have leapt in popularity since the pandemic
  • Examples include: VR, 3-D tours, digital staging, online auctions and conveyancing

The pandemic has brought a surge of buyers securing residential property sight unseen.

Interstate buyers from NSW and Victoria, in particular, are flocking – without crossing a border or getting on a plane – to the Sunshine State to snap up real estate.

How are they doing that?

Well, it’s all thanks to technology and innovation in the proptech sector, which has led the way for buyers to inspect every inch of their potential purchase, negotiate the contract, buy – by private treaty or by auction – all from the comfort of their own homes.

This is great news for sellers because it widens the potential audience from those in your city to pretty much anyone who can log onto the internet, regardless of where they are on the planet.

But this means that engaging an agent familiar with this technology, so they can harness it for your sale, is no longer an optional extra, but rather an absolute must.

So, let’s take a look at what you’ll need to talk to your agent about.

Virtual tours

While 3D virtual tours and 360-degree virtual tours pre-date COVID by many years, travel restrictions have triggered a surge in popularity.

A 3D virtual tour is a fully immersive experience while a 360-degree tour is a video of photos stitched together.

Proptech experts are forecasting 3D virtual tours to continue to grow even more sharply once the 5G network rolls out.

Data shows people looking for new homes are spending 52 per cent longer on listings that have virtual tours available than those without this function.

Depending on the platform, 3D virtual tours offer an opportunity to not only give potential buyers a look at the property but also to embed information that pops up as the buyer walks through the property.

For example, “These floorboards are made from recycled timbers and sustainable construction methods”.

Top Tip: Ask your agent who they use for 3D tours and what features that platform offers.

Online auctions

Online auctions are on the rise, with more than 200 homes sold in just one week under the virtual hammer-in Sydney during the peak of the pandemic.

While the virtual auction is a very different beast to the real-world version, it does give experienced agents and auctioneers an opportunity to draw in more registered bidders.

Top Tip: Ask your agent if their auctioneer has explored the world of online auctions yet and what success they’ve had. What strategies do they use to encourage bids from a virtual bidder?

A basket of tech goodies

Technology still has more to offer – Google maps affords buyers the opportunity to explore the neighbourhood, such as a map with the nearby highlights flagged so that potential buyers can explore the area.

VR headsets allow buyers to literally walk through a virtual render of the property, which is handy for off-the-plan sales.

Augmented reality also helps buyers look at a property and visualise any planned renovations.

Virtual staging is increasingly popular and involves staging the home with aspirational furnishings to show it off to its best advantage.

Getting physical furniture into the property can generate a costly (but worthwhile) expense.

If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, a virtual home staging is possible.

There are many platforms today that will take photos of the property, remove clutter and furniture, and superimpose aspirational furniture.

E-conveyancing and digital settlements

Probably one of the greatest modernisations – and one the most urgently needed – is the innovation of e-conveyancing.

Up until only a few years ago, property exchanges were an arcane process that required all the lenders and lawyers associated with one transaction to get into a room together with the cheques and physically swap pieces of paper and put pen and ink signatures on documents. Crazy!

Now, PEXA has changed all of that.

Offering a secure environment for conveyancers, lawyers, and lenders to transact in, all the details of a property sale can be held online, with the buyer, seller, and their agents able to track the transaction’s journey to completion.

With COVID likely to remain a way of life for some time, buyers will continue to embrace these technological innovations, with savvy sellers opting to take advantage of the myriad opportunities available.

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