Northern Ireland news

3D virtual housing viewings introduced for lockdown property sales

A 360º camera provides viewers with a 99 per cent accurate 3D image of their prospective new home. Picture by Matterport

THE PRESSURES of lockdown have emphasised shortcomings in people's homes like never before - but high Covid-19 community infection levels are deterring some from embarking on a wished-for house move.

One Co Antrim estate agent has become one of the first in Ireland to introduce 3D virtual viewings to overcome one of the impediments for both buyers and sellers.

Bill McCann Estate Agency in Lisburn has brought in Matterport software, a 3D platform with a 360º camera which has been in use for some time among the international jet-set when considering purchases of second homes or relocations.

The technology is able to recreate a property in a digital space, allowing anyone with a connection to the internet to view it from their own home.

Simon McCann said the pandemic made the company think about what innovations could compensate for the vastly changed world outside their office doors.

"2020 was a challenging year for the property market but lockdown also gave us the opportunity to conceptualize this idea," he said.

"My colleague, Ross Moffett, was the driving force behind the idea and put a lot of research in to the equipment and software needed to bring us, into what we believe, is the future of estate agency.

"While the market initially stalled with lockdown 2020, the second part of last year was one of our busiest periods as so many people used that time to redecorate and refurbish their homes with the view to selling them."

Mr Moffett said home buyers are now preparing for a post-pandemic working environment, very different from the one they left in March 2020.

"With more people now working from home, especially with the new 2021 lockdown, we've also had an influx of clients needing to upsize to a property with office space."

Bill McCann said it has brought peace of mind at a time when face-to-face contact should be kept to an absolute minimum.

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