Regional agency lets 26 properties in one month with no physical viewings

An estate and letting agency operating across Kent has revealed that it recently let 26 properties in one month without conducting any physical viewings.

Oakwood Homes used livestreaming platform Gavl to conduct all lettings viewings when it would normally carry out up to 20 viewings per property pre-pandemic.

Gavl’s livestream viewings allow agents to showcase available properties to large groups of applicants at the same time, creating a virtual open house viewing. The viewing events are interactive with chat functionality, allowing consumers to ask agents questions about the property while they conduct the virtual walk through.

Each livestream event has its own dynamic live link and can be embedded on an agent’s website and portal listings, as well as promoted on social media.

“Gavl has transformed our lettings business – we will not be returning to the ‘old way’,” says Andrew Dickinson, managing director of Oakwood Homes.

He explains that the key to reducing the number of in-person viewings and completing transactions with livestream tours is to get complete engagement from staff and to ensure there is a clear marketing strategy.

Joel Smith, CEO of Gavl, says: “Oakwood Homes is a fantastic example of how agents can use livestream technology to reduce their number of physical viewings without compromising the number of completed deals.”

“The ability to offer livestream viewings is not only helping agents to continue operating through the pandemic, but it is revolutionising the way they market properties for the long-term.”

Livestream viewings reduce lockdown pressure

Despite England being in a third national lockdown, the housing market has been allowed to remain open with agents permitted to continue facilitating home moves.

However, the government is still advising that virtual viewings take place in the first instance and only very serious applicants attend in-person viewings.

There have also been calls for in-person viewings to be banned by Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer, while the Guild of Property Professionals said agents have a ‘moral obligation’ to restrict physical viewings.

In recent weeks, with the coronavirus situation worse than it was during the 2020 peak, many applicants, sellers and landlords are likely to have been more nervous about carrying out physical viewings.

“Carrying out livestream viewings drastically reduces the number of physical viewings required per property and as shown by Oakwood Homes, they can eliminate the need for them altogether in many circumstances,” says Smith.

“With lockdown in England set to last until at least March 8 and some sort of social distancing rules set to remain in place for a long time, agents need an efficient and effective way of carrying out digital viewings so people can continue to move home with confidence.”

Engage more applicants with livestream viewings

Livestream viewing events can be promoted to the masses via portals, social media and agents’ websites, increasing engagement from a wider audience of applicants by taking the viewing to them.

This way of marketing allows consumers to bypass the enquiry stage and start the conversation at the viewing.

“This process is much more productive, encourages buyers to qualify themselves and saves agents a huge amount of time responding to enquiries,” explains Smith.

Following the livestream event, agents are provided with a transcript as well as details of all the applicants who turned up. This makes their job of following up a lot more efficient.

He adds that livestream viewings reduce the pressure on vendors and landlords as they only have to open up their home once, rather than carrying out a range of one-on-one virtual viewings with applicants who aren’t seriously interested.

“There are also additional lead generation opportunities for agents as we know applicants may also be selling a property and prospective landlords or sellers often turn up to open house viewings to carry out market research.”

“As well as saving time and keeping people safe, livestream viewings help agents to create a buzz around a property and give them a USP over competitors,” Smith concludes.