The use of virtual tours (or virtual viewings) is increasingly common for marketing properties for sale and let. The advantages of virtual tours are obvious and there is nothing illegal nor any breach of any code to accept an offer based on a virtual tour. However there are some pitfalls and reasons why we would never advocate making, nor accepting, an offer based purely on a virtual tour:
- Not knowing the neighbourhood – If you’re not familiar with an area, a virtual tour won’t help. You won’t be able to see the building next door and the surrounding area, so extra research would be needed. Even then, you won’t be able to talk to the neighbours and get an idea of the dynamics of the area.
- Not physically interacting with the property – Although you can see the property and make accurate evaluations about its condition during a virtual tour, its strong and weak points, it’s not the same as physically being in the property to get deep into the nooks and crannies to see those niggling details that can make all the difference. Also, virtual tours sometimes make it difficult to accurately determine how much natural light a property gets or how it smells when you enter the property.
- Not meeting the landlord or their agent – With a virtual tour alone, you don’t have the opportunity to meet the landlord or their agent in person and address all the issues you might be concerned about before moving in.
- Not meeting the prospective tenant – As above, the landlord or their agent meeting the prospective tenant in person is an important part of the process of selecting the right tenant for the property.
- In 2022, the Property Redress Scheme (PRS) reported an increase in complaints of misrepresentation due to virtual viewings.
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