CEO of Smart Viewing, Marc Haguenauer. Image: Supplied
The technology allows the estate agent to walk a client through a comprehensive tour of a property, without either of them needing to be present at the time, using live audio and video to act as an online guide.
The product has been trialed for the past few months with several leading UK estate agents, in conjunction with the Zoopla Property Group.
CEO of Smart Viewing Marc Haguenauer said the product can potentially save agents both time and money.
“Accompanied viewings are one of the biggest expenses that an estate agency has to bear. In fact, we estimate the cost of conducting some 33 million physical viewings each year is around £655m. That figure bites into the £7.7bn annual commission for sales & lettings generated by the industry.
“However, we believe that the use of Smart Viewing would reduce the number of physical viewings by a third, which would provide savings of £188m. That means, assuming an average 12% profit margin, the industry can increase its bottom-line figure by 20%.
Haguenauer adds that not only does Smart Viewing help agents capture more leads, but it also assists consumers in short-listing properties they want to view in real life. It means that distance and availability of the parties concerned is no longer an issue, and unsuitable properties can be identified straight away.
Furthermore, he points out: “We’ve had situations whereby agents using Smart Viewing have won instructions simply because vendors fear their privacy will be invaded and don’t want just anyone walking through their home. In fact, one of the popular features on the Smart Viewing platform is that an open-house viewing allows multiple leads to be generated. In one instance we’ve had 30 viewers online, all looking at the same property at the same time.”
The trial period with ZPG has produced very favourable responses from agents for the Smart Viewing solution.
Adam Day, director of online portal Hatched.co.uk (part of Connells) said: “The icing on the cake with something like Smart Viewing is that anyone booking a physical viewing off the back of attending an viewing online, is getting a second viewing straight away. I think the goal for all vendors is to get as many serious people through the door as possible, to help them achieve the maximum price - and that’s exactly what we deliver using something like Smart Viewing.”