A panel of estate agents have suggested that property viewings will never be the same again following the pandemic in a recent webinar.

The webinar, which was part of the Kerfuffle podcast hosted by Simon Whale, saw the panel discuss the benefits of livestream open house viewings.

The discussion included input from Matt Nicol, director of Nicol & Co Estate Agents; Andrew Craig, founder of Andrew Craig Estate Agents; Richard Poole, partner at Michael Poole Estate Agents; and Andrew Dickinson, owner of Oakwood Homes.

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Joel Smith, chief executive of livestream viewing app Gavl, also took part in the discussion.

The agents discussed the impact livestream viewings have had on their businesses and whether fewer physical viewings will be needed post-pandemic, alongside providing advice to agencies thinking about adopting livestream technology.

Craig, whose 10-branch agency operates across the North East, explained the details of a recent lettings property which attracted 10 prospective renters to the livestream viewing, five of which went on to make an offer.

He added that being able to answer all viewers’ questions at once, such as whether the property has a dishwasher and if the landlord accepts pets, is a huge benefit.

Meanwhile Nicol, who runs a three-branch agency in the Midlands, said his firm would need more staff to carry out viewings if it wasn’t using livestream viewing technology.

Pre-pandemic, his firm employed four members of lettings staff to deal with less stock than three members of staff are now dealing with thanks to the efficiencies provided by online open house viewings.

Dickinson, whose East Kent agency let 26 properties with no physical viewings in November 2020, shared figures for two properties let in February 2021.

The first livestream viewing attracted 34 viewers, over 30 questions and 16 offers were tabled within 90 minutes of the event.

The second attracted 30 viewers, 26 questions and 21 offers within two hours of the livestream finishing.

Dickinson added that his firm carried out 19 physical viewings for every net sale and 18 viewings for every net let in 2019.

In 2020, with the help of livestream technology, these figures dropped to 8.1 physical viewings per net sale and two viewings per net let in Q4.

He says since adopting Gavl, his firm has increased market share by 2.4% and reduced base costs by 4.4%.

Joel Smith said: “When adopting new technology, business owners need to know what problems they’re solving and how they can measure success.

“Clear metrics such as time and money saved, market share gained and reduction in number of physical viewings can help agents to measure how well livestream software is working.”

The webinar also covered the various reasons why consumers, including sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants, are seeing the benefits of livestream viewings.

Nicol explained that one prospective seller is currently attending all of his firm’s livestream viewings to get a handle on the local market.

He added that due to the third national lockdown, most consumers don’t want to attend physical viewings unless absolutely necessary, which also works out better for agents from a time and safety perspective.

Poole, whose agency operates across Teesside, said his firm has received numerous positive reviews and social media feedback about livestream viewings.

He added that consumers are mentioning livestream viewings as a talking point, something they’re curious about and likely to remember as a differentiator.

According to Andrew Dickinson, applicants benefit from the safety and efficiency of livestream viewings, while vendors are pleased they don’t have so many people visiting their property.

Landlords, meanwhile, enjoy the quicker results whilst existing tenants benefit from less disruption due to physical viewings.

Joel Smith added: “Livestream viewings provide benefits for all parties involved in a transaction, so using this technology is a win-win for agents.

“Offering livestream viewings can be a lead generator and instruction winner due to the marketing buzz created, as well as a vastly more efficient process.”