Locked-down Londoners will never buy and sell houses the same way again – with almost half of home buyers willing to put an offer in without even setting foot in the door.
The coronavirus pandemic has revolutionised the housing market and new research from Purplebricks, the UK’s tech-led estate agent, shows a whopping 43 per cent of London buyers would be happy to make an offer after a mere virtual viewing.
And lockdown has ignited Londoners’ love for digital house hunting, with seven in ten buyers engaging in virtual viewings over the last year.
Research also shows these digital viewings are here to stay, with a staggering 74 per cent of capital buyers reckoning they will become the norm after lockdown.
Well over half think virtual viewings are less awkward than visiting the home yourself, while 62 per cent of Londoners surveyed believe the digital method is more efficient.
The pandemic has changed the face of the London market forever and James Terry, Divisional Sales Director at Purplebricks, is predicting a watershed moment.
He said: “The pandemic has thrown up many new challenges for buyers and sellers across London and further afield.
“But this has heralded a new era of virtual house hunting and homeowners are adopting this new way of buying and selling homes.
“Many people’s circumstances have changed. Virtual viewings enable us to give far more people access to properties than ever before.
“Buyers can carry out their first viewings virtually and draw up a shortlist for when they are able to physically visit.
“The market around the capital has remained exceptionally busy, and we are seeing an increase in people looking to move a little further out of the city, as commuting is no longer such a priority.”
Purplebricks’ research also revealed London buyers’ housing priorities are dominated by size, with 63 per cent insisting the most important thing online properties show is the scale of the rooms.
And buyers in the capital have also become far more tech-savvy during the last year, with 87 per cent significantly increasing their use of technology and 96 per cent happy to ramp up its use in search for a home in future.
The importance of a garden has also been catapulted to the forefront of buyers’ agenda, while sellers making an effort to ensure rooms look light and airy has also become more significant.
47 per cent of prospective London buyers reckon a garden is the most important element to look for in a home, while almost half think light-looking rooms are the best way to make a property more attractive.
Purplebricks has worked with Kate Watson-Smythe to provide tips on making your house look more appealing and Kate, one of the capital’s interior design gurus, says floral designs, cleanliness and showing off storage space are among the best ways of thriving in virtual viewing world.
She said: “There are a number of practical things you can do to make a great first impression, but the hardest part of showing your home virtually is giving people that feeling or vibe you get when you step into a house.
“While you can’t delight them with the smell of freshly baked bread or coffee brewing as they walk in the door, there are some clever tricks you can do.
“Place fresh flowers to brighten up a room, make sure all of the rooms are clean and tidy, show off any storage space, pull back the curtains to let in the light, and stage the rooms to encourage buyers to see themselves in the home with their family and friends.”
Purplebricks is the UK’s technology-led estate agent and offers customers a transparent and convenient way to buy, sell, or let. Purplebricks gives customers the combined support of Local Property Experts, an online platform and a central customer service team. More information can be found at www.purplebricks.co.uk.