By Aidan Rushby, CEO, Movebubble
At Movebubble we’ve noticed a seismic shift in rental behaviour, with a readiness to adopt new ways of moving by using mobile and video technology. And over the past 18 months, we’ve tracked a staggering 1300% increase in renters showing intent to virtually view or transact online – without having to physically go and view the property in-person.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we already knew from our 700,000 strong database of renters that they wanted a simpler and more convenient way to search and secure their next home – and the pandemic has actually accelerated this shift in consumer behaviour. This means we can certainly expect to see virtual viewings using mobile technology become the norm.
Virtual viewings will transform the rental market
In fact, video viewings will become integral to the rental market and will likely completely transform it. Based on current demand and our own internal analytics, we predict that by 2025, physical property viewings in the rental market will be a thing of the past – with more transactions taking place virtually via smartphone.
This is down to a combination of key factors; such as ongoing social distancing, the accessibility of smartphones with high quality cameras, alongside the introduction of 5G to the UK – which will all work to greatly accelerate the adoption of this new behaviour.
Hence why at the beginning of April 2020, we launched our ‘Home Walkthroughs’ feature on our app – a first-of-its-kind property video viewing feature which reduces in-person contact by removing the need to view a property physically. With this new feature, we’re looking to establish a new way of renting by offering honest, trusted and unfiltered virtual viewings from the ease of mobile – allowing renters to instantly view and secure a home, without ever having to step foot inside.
The past decade has seen a vast increase in the quality and popularity of video content consumed. Videos bring a level of trust which static rental property imagery can’t – especially in the rental market – as it’s easy to see where content has been highly edited or photoshopped; ‘flat-fished’, if you will.
Virtual viewings are the new way to view properties
In the fast-paced world we live in today, most young professionals are time-poor. Most of us work long hours and one of the last things we feel like doing after a hard day’s work is venture out far and wide to look at different properties.
As we evolve and adapt to new ways of working and living, virtual viewings will provide a frictionless way for renters to find a new home. This new method of finding a property will quickly pave the way to solving many of the problems around physical viewings that have plagued the market for so long, from time saving to being ‘flat-fished’.
Simply put, people want and expect to be able to make swift decisions with as little impact on their day to day lives as possible. With our virtual viewing feature, we aim to connect Movebubble partners – Letting Agents, Build to Rent and Coliving partners – with potential renters to offer an honest, reliable and trusted end-to-end rental experience.