The new technology that really does help you find a home

Some new technology aids our everyday lives and some doesn’t – but estate agents are now pioneering services which really help buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants alike, writes Graham Norwood.

We’re all familiar with portals like Rightmove, OnTheMarket and Zoopla, early example of new technology which have helped us all in our house hunting over many years.

But now there’s more ‘personal’ technology like, for example, the 3D virtual reality walk-throughs from Strutt & Parker to help spice up property details for would-be purchasers.

This facility gives a really impressive feeling of being on the spot – “fully immersive” in the jargon of technologists – and is much more impressive than the VR of the past.

“The 3D ‘dolls house’ view allows users to smoothly navigate through the home, gliding past each room in crystal-clear definition,” says the agency, justifiably proud of how this can help buyers who can use the facility in branches.

There’s a variation on this theme now being offered by estate agency JLL too. It has nine London branches but its new ‘VR Clips’ is that they work for anyone anywhere.

The system, created by a company called Spec, uses 3D cameras to create VR and floorplans which can then be viewed through an app by would-be buyers or renters using accessories which simply clip on to their phones.

“VR Clips make the house hunting process so much quicker 
and easier as people can view several properties in a short space 
of time and use this as a way of eliminating the properties they don’t want to see in real life,” says Emma Deeny, Associate Director at JLL.

“Five to four percent of tenant move-ins at Two Fifty One in Elephant and Castle did not physically view it. We had the show apartments captured long before completion and tenants were happy to secure a property from the Spec footage of the properties,” she adds.

Less hi-tech but arguably even more vital for buyers is the ability to view a property in person whenever you want – early Saturday evening, first thing Monday or in a lunch break.

A piece of technology called Viewber allows you to do this, even if you don’t know it. Many estate agents now use it to book freelance viewing personnel to pick up keys to a property at short notice and even at anti-social hours, and escort a prospective buyer. There have been 35,000 such viewings arranged this way in just two years.

One common denominator with these examples of technology is that each is ‘curated’ by estate agents – that’s a guarantee of traditional good service as well as high-spec IT.

“One common denominator with these examples of technology is that each is ‘curated’ by estate agents…”