As the UK slowly eases out of lockdown and home movers eagerly search for their next property, virtual viewings and video tours are becoming more vital than ever before, and agents everywhere are reaping the benefits.
One of them is Cullen Property, a Edinburgh-based residential property investment and lettings specialist, which is celebrating the success of its virtual property viewings programme with just under 90% of student properties let.
Initially launched in March to facilitate viewings of Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) without breaking lockdown rules, the service has been hugely popular with students. Within weeks, 600 students registered to select their home for the coming academic year online. At the end of July, nearly 90% of Cullen Property’s available HMO properties had been let.
Steve Coyle, managing director of Cullen Property, says: “We are delighted that our virtual viewings programme has helped so many students find their home for this coming academic year. It’s a piece of good news in a challenging time.”
“When we launched our virtual viewings programme, our main concern was the health and safety of our tenants and staff. However, a few months into letting student properties this way, it is clear that virtual viewings will be a big part of the ‘new normal’ for lettings agents.”
Virtual property viewings are known to save time for agents, as well as making the process easier for prospective tenants and minimising the inconvenience for current renters.
According to Dawn Pianosi, head of property management at Cullen, the process of student lettings has been complex, with different companies using different approaches.
She says: “Considering that we are dealing with up to six tenants looking to view a flat at a time, it’s been tricky to coordinate at times, not to mention the disruption viewings cause to sitting tenants. For those reasons and based on the feedback we had on the process of the past few months, virtual viewings are here to stay and we are currently looking at ways to enhance this service further.”
The agency’s virtual viewings process allows students to view a property, apply for it, pay their deposit and receive the keys whilst maintaining social distancing measures. Even with lockdown restrictions being lifted, virtual viewings are proving to be an ideal process. In select cases, however, in-person viewings can still be arranged.
Cullen Property specialises in HMO property investment, currently managing circa 400 properties in Edinburgh including 207 HMO properties. The team is able to source, acquire and transform a dated spacious Edinburgh property into a modern HMO licensed accommodation in prime city centre locations.