Going back to our annual retreat in October 2019, we were discussing growing demand we had noticed in renters not wanting to physically view properties anymore and no one had really nailed this.
How to remove the need to view a property was an idea that had been in the back of our minds for quite some time now (..years!), but it was only here in that planning session that we really started to put the wheels into motion after doing analysis on our chat data. We saw that the rental behaviour was starting to change, and ready to adopt new ways of doing moving through mobile technology.
Over the past 18 months, we’d seen over a 1300% increase in our renters showing intent to virtually view or transact online, without having to physically go and view the property.
Video requests YoY growth:
Why do I think this is?
- Renters have less time to spend going to viewings
In the fast-paced world we live in today, most young professionals are time-poor, and looking for new ways to get that time back. Most of us work long hours and one of the last things we feel like doing after a hard day's work is venturing out far and wide to look at different properties. Physically attending viewings takes up a lot of time. In a recent renter evening we hosted at Movebubble, our renters told us that viewings were the most painful and time-consuming part of renting a new home. Because of this, many renters today limit themselves to an average of 3-5 viewings, so we’re excited to put the power back in the hands of the renter, and enable them to virtually view as many properties as they’d like, increasing their choice, and enabling them to make a better decision on their new home.
- Acceleration in the quality of video
Video has come a long way in the last decade and will develop a lot more. Virtually every single person now has a decent to high quality camera in their pocket. Smartphones have taken over the market! Platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram and TikTok have recently made it easier than ever for us to create and consume content to our heart’s desire. It’s high quality, it’s addictive, and it's not slowing down anytime soon. 5G will only move this on faster.
- High levels of trust
On the back of the acceleration of the quality and the amount of video content we now consume, video content brings a level of trust that many have struggled to achieve in the past, especially in the rental market. The videos give renters millions more data points than a single image. As people use video technology more and more, the level of trust has soared. It’s easy to see when a video has been edited or photoshopped, so it’s seen as much more trustworthy than traditional photos. It’s especially exciting for the rental market, where people want to see what the property looks like now, not what it looked like 5 years ago brand new, and under highly artificial lighting and lenses.
- Build-to-Rent property is new and high quality
Build-to-Rent properties are of a really high calibre, likely to be brand new, and therefore the trust is already halfway there. It makes video the perfect solution to showcase these properties, and their amenities. With Build-to-Rent homes, there are often multiple added extras included with the rent for renters to enjoy, such as cinema rooms, roof terraces, gyms and even swimming pools! The video content is able to give renters a real sense of what it’s like to live in the building.
I think video viewings are here to stay and are going to transform the market!
Let's face it, social distancing will be around for some time, the market and landscape as we know it has permanently changed. As 5G comes into play, this will also accelerate the adoption of video creation and consumption at a much faster rate. Video viewings will ultimately create a much better experience for the consumer, giving them more choice, freeing up their time, and streamlining the rental process to move much faster. Convenience is a very powerful force and now that renters have the taste of how good the experience can be, they won’t want to go back!
My final thoughts..
I think that right now, this feature is needed more than ever and we've seen over 800% improvement in renter engagement since we launched our new walkthroughs feature last week. As we evolve and adapt to new ways of working, video viewings will pave the way to solve many of the problems around physical viewings, especially if you’re moving from a different city or country. I think that whilst this feature may not be for everyone, in time for most people, they will not need to physically view a property anymore, and will welcome this new technology with open arms.