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13 Jan 2018

Which? reveals the tech that could help sell your house

Drones, Facebook and virtual viewings can all boost property sales

Estate agents are using increasingly sophisticated tools to help sell property more quickly and for a higher price.

This week sees the launch of open banking - the ability to share your financial data with third party services to get better financial deals. This is being hailed as the future of managing your money.

But what's the future of selling your property? From Facebook ads and virtual reality tours to Bitcoin transactions and digital chain management, find out about the tech that can help you sell your home.

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Virtually 'dress' your home

If you're selling an empty property and are worried the rooms might look bleak in the online listing, virtual dressing could help. Companies such as Doctor Photo can add furniture to an empty space at the click of a button:



This can also be useful if you want to demonstrate a room's dimensions, for example by showing that a double bed could fit in a bedroom. And if you're a landlord hoping to sell a rental property, the software can virtually declutter a room - great if you have messy tenants.

Of course there are laws surrounding this - for example you can't mislead buyers by removing your neighbour's house from exterior shots or switching your '70s avocado bathroom suite for a glossy white replacement - but it's a great way of showcasing your property's potential and getting viewers through the door.

The good news is that this tech is cheap so it can be used for any property, not just millionaires' mansions. Ask your estate agent if you think it could help.

Sell your house through Facebook

Last year saw the UK's first Facebook property sale, with east London-based Shanty Helim achieving £467,000 for her bungalow after hosting a Facebook Live viewing.

While streaming a viewing is still far from common practice, estate agents are increasingly usingdigital marketing tools to target potential buyers via social media.

One example is estate agency Haart, which uses a system called Flink to create Facebook, Instagram and Twitter adverts that change who they're targeting in real time based on how (and whether) users interact with the ads. They claim this is helping them sell properties 31% more quickly.

As well as helping sellers, this type of tech can benefit buyers in that they're less likely to be repeatedly bombarded with adverts for properties they're not interested in.

Show off with drone footage

Drone footage can instantly convey a property's wow factor, particularly if you're fortunate enough to have tennis courts and a swimming pool that you're keen to showcase. It can also be used to demonstrate where a property is situated in relation to local amenities and landmarks.

So far we've only seen drone footage being used at the prime end of the market, but with more people owning their own drones and the technology becoming cheaper this could become more widespread as a property-selling device.

Let buyers in with a virtual tour

Can't be bothered to tidy up for viewings every day?It's hardly surprising given that, according to virtual tour platform EyeSpy360, 80% of first viewings don't lead to a second. Offering a virtual tour like the Matterport example below can help ensure you only get serious potential buyers through your door.

Using a VR headset or exploring interactive video footage on their screen, a buyer can peek into every corner of your house, getting a far more accurate idea of flow and proportion than they would through photos alone:

The tech is currently too expensive to be used for the mass market but this could be one to watch for the future.

Buying property with Bitcoin

In December 2017, a developer announced the first property sale to be made using the controversial cryptocurrency Bitcoin.This marked a turning point for the Land Registry, which until then had only registered property sales made with sterling.

It might sound gimmicky - not to mention risky, as no one knows what will happen to the value of Bitcoin - but selling property in this way enables instant money transfer and simultaneous exchange and completion.

On the downside, it's still unclear how capital gains tax will be calculated when people sell Bitcoin, adding further uncertainty to the process.

Keep on top of the chain without picking up the phone

Any homeowner will know that agreeing the sale is just the start of what can be a long-drawn-out and painful process - especially if there are more than two properties in the chain.

ViewMyChain.comis a website that enables you to view what's happening at each stage of your property chain. It will alert you when key milestones are reached, from a property going under offer to legal searches being made. It will also notify you when you need to take action.

As it uses automatic datafeeds it doesn't require input from your estate agent or conveyancer, meaning you'll be in the loop without having to make endless phone calls.

Best of all, the site's owners claim using ViewMyChain canspeed up your move by up to three weeks and reduce the chance of the sale falling through by 20%.

What does the future hold for sellers?

There are plenty more exciting developments afoot in the property-selling space: EyeSpy360 has just launched real-time online viewings, often with an agent on hand to answer questions as they give the tour.You can also take a pre-recorded, agent-guided virtual tour, pausing the video to explore for yourself and then hitting play to continue with the commentary:

James Dearsley of PropTechConsult.combelieves that artificial intelligence is set to play an increasingly pivotal role in property sales.

'Artificial intelligence will interpret what it knows about you and show you properties that suit your requirements. It will know where you live, and perhaps what you like about the property, and suggestsimilar areas that fit with your current situation.

'There is no doubt that artificial intelligence will influence the way that we buy houses in the future.