How can I view properties for sale during Coronavirus?

Couple on sofa with ipad

You’re staying home and staying safe, but that doesn’t mean your property search needs to be put on hold.

In line with Government guidance surrounding isolation, viewings of properties in person cannot be conducted at present. However, online viewing activity is starting to surge as the property portals (such as Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket for example) are seeing the millions of stay-at-home workers making use of the extra time at their disposal, to browse and look at homes.

We may be all housebound right now, but the appetite for moving home certainly doesn’t appear to have tapered off.

Worried about missing out on a property? Great news - you can still make a provisional offer, subject to viewing the property in person when it is possible to.

Please note: At the time of publishing this information was correct. You can keep up to date with any changes to the property market, by reading the Government guidelines, which are continually being updated. 

The wonders of technology… and you don’t need to be tech savvy!

Virtual viewing technology has made it easier for potential property hunters to be given wow-factor realistic “walk through” tours of the homes that are advertised.

You don’t need to be a whizz at technology, have a fancy computer, or even a camera. A simple click and the virtual tour will appear on screen, where you can control where you go and what you would like to see in that particular home. Don’t worry, this isn’t a two-way thing, no one can see you.

Virtual viewings offer a great opportunity for you to still tour prospective properties whilst in isolation during Coronavirus, and also help you to whittle down your options for when the distancing restrictions are lifted.


Male laptop phone picture kitchen


How to find virtual viewings on Rightmove

The good news is the number of listings with virtual tours on Rightmove has quadrupled in recent weeks. In fact, did you know that property listings which have a virtual tour receive an average of 40 per cent more views? No doubt one day soon every property listing offering a virtual tour option will become the norm - it’s an easier way of viewing and you don’t need to leave the comfort of your sofa!


Here are the simple steps to follow

Firstly, you enter the location in the search box on the Rightmove homepage of where (which location or postcode area) you would like to look at properties.

Then you further refine your criteria by type of property and price, then click ‘find properties’. This is the normal search process and it hasn’t changed. 

When the listings appear, this is where you can identify which ones are offering a virtual tour. There are several things to look out for:

  • Online Viewing Label
  • Virtual Tour Button
  • Virtual Tour Feature Box
  • Description text mentions

Online Viewing Label

Rightmove property listing with online viewing option

This is the yellow label circled in red. Currently, the ‘online viewing’ label is only visible on the Rightmove website, but they are planning to add it to the Rightmove app soon. However, virtual and video tours are viewable, where available, via the apps.


Virtual Tour Button

Rightmove property listing with virtual tour

The virtual tour button appears in the top left corner of the individual property listing. It is represented by a play button within a box.


Virtual Tour Feature Box

Rightmove property listing with virtual tour option

This appears when the property has been listed by an estate agent as a ‘featured listing’. A featured listing offers additional benefits to a standard listing. Here, the estate agent may decide to use the green feature box to highlight that the property has a virtual tour.


Description Text Mention

Rightmove property listing with virtual viewing

The estate agent, may also decide to highlight within the description text that there is a ‘Live Tour’, a option for ‘Live Video Viewings’ or in this case a ‘virtual viewing’. As there isn't an 'online viewing' label or an icon in the top left corner, in this scenario, the agent is promoting a service where the seller is providing a live video tour.


What is a Live Video Viewing?

The key word here is the word ‘Live’. This means, that the seller of the property is happy to show you around their home via a live video. So, it’s like having a live video call.

If you have an iPhone, this can be done with Facetime, or WhatsApp, Zoom or any online video facility if you have a particular preference on any device. Have you used Skype before? We have a simple guide with the steps to setup your free account which may help here.

The bonus with video viewings is that you have the opportunity to see the seller and ask them more personal questions about the house and area. Such as what do they love most about their home, or what are the neighbours like? You can choose to turn off the video of you, if you’re uncomfortable being seen on camera, whilst still being able to speak and listen.


Bungalow and terraced houses


Can Homewise still help with viewings?

Of course! While our accompanied viewings service is temporarily unavailable, we're still here to help our customers move home and plan for the future during Coronavirus.

Our free Move Simply service is available to all Home for Life Plan customers and includes assistance with property searches, liaising with agents and handling negotiations for example. Although our teams are working remotely, we're still very much operating in a 'business as usual' fashion in terms of the support services we offer.

We can work with you to find prospective properties that meet your wish list criteria, speak to agents about virtual viewings and even help you to show your property virtually too, if you like!

Our dedicated team are on hand to support each and every customer, taking the hassle out of property searching and ensuring their dream home is found as soon as possible.

If you're aged 60 years old or over and thinking about moving home, get in touch with our friendly team and discover how we could help you to find the perfect home for your future too.

In the meantime, you can use our online calculator! It's simple, quick and could provide you with a better understanding of your potential budget.

By Kerry

On 17th of April 2020

In Property and Moving Home