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Insight – will there be a rise in virtual tour voyeurism?

Half of UK homebuyers admit to viewing a property without the intention of buying, with 16% going as far as viewing in person, a study by virtual property viewings platform U-See Homes reveals.

Whether it’s surfing the likes of Rightmove during the Christmas holiday, or checking out the latest luxury property porn, today’s Brits love to take a look at how others are living.

The digital evolution of the property market has this easier than ever and 81% of those surveyed by U-See Homes admitted that they’ve looked at an online property listing with absolutely no intention of actually viewing it.


However, more than half of homebuyers (51%) have taken this virtual viewing voyeurism one step further, opting to view a property virtually with no intention of viewing it in person or potentially buying it.

Curiosity was the driving factor for half of those choosing to do so (49%), while checking out a neighbour, friend or colleague's house was also the driving factor for 16%. Some 14% did so because it was a luxurious or expensive home.

But it doesn’t stop there. As many as 16% of homebuyers stated they have actually viewed a property in person despite having absolutely no intention of submitting an offer.

Again, curiosity was the main reason (65%), although 23% did so to get inside a luxurious or expensive home or one with unusual features.

Simon Dempsey, head of marketing for U-See Homes, comments: “Advancements in technology have allowed us to take our property perversions to a whole new level, with virtual tour technology allowing us to effectively walk around someone else’s home without any intention of buying it.”

“While this is a pretty harmless practice, the 16% of us that take this virtual tyre kicking as far as a physical viewing are perhaps taking things a bit too far.”

He adds: “Not only is it a little bit strange, but it wastes the time of both the homeowner and estate agent who conduct the viewing. Guided virtual tours can be a great tool when initially qualifying a buyer as they allow an agent to conduct them in real-time.”

“Not only does this reduce the number of time wasters but it also allows the agent to whittle down a list of potential homes to just a few strong contenders, removing the need for multiple physical viewings and speeding up the process for all involved.”


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