The Government says that, during the Covid pandemic, "initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible".
And with 360-degree photography and video, buyers can now fully immerse themselves into a property without having to leave the comfort of their own home.
However, while lockdown has forced estate agents to take their viewings online, it is important buyers are wary of what to look out for during a virtual property tour.
Mortgage expert Pete Mugleston, managing director at onlinemortgageadvisor.co.uk, has put together some top tips when it comes to viewing a property online.
Sign up to our daily newsletter
The i newsletter cut through the noise
Pete says: "On any normal property viewing, you can take a look at all of the nooks and crannies in the house with your own eyes. However, virtually it’s much easier for certain problem areas to be brushed under the carpet, quite literally. Don’t be afraid to ask for close up views or even photos of any areas you feel you didn’t quite get to see. Always make sure if you’ve only seen a property via video that any agreements made are ’subject to a physical inspection."
Pete says: "Under normal circumstances, you could take the opportunity to make sure that the shower works or perhaps noticing if there’s a leaky tap. Again, this can be very easily disguised through a camera or smartphone, so be prepared to ask if you can have a full run-down of what works and what might need fixing."
Pete says: "Rooms may appear lighter or darker depending on how much light the camera lens takes in. It’s a good idea to take a look at how much natural light is in the room, checking where the windows are placed and perhaps asking whether the property is south facing, as this will usually indicate how much natural light you will get and at what times."
Pete says: "We all know the effects troublesome neighbours can play on our home lives, particularly as we spend more time in our homes and home offices. Sometimes it might not be obvious how well behaved your neighbours are until you move in, but a property viewing can usually give a good idea on what to expect from those in nearby properties."
Pete says: "Be sure to check the floor plan of the property before going through the virtual tour as this will include room dimensions and the layout before you see what a room actually looks like. Judging a room by camera can mean some rooms can appear larger, or even smaller, than you initially expected."
Pete says: "Virtual viewings can help buyers to get a good idea of the property they’re interested in, but what about the surrounding area? Sometimes a brief Google search can help to paint the picture, but exploring the area by foot can reveal unexpected gems such as a nearby high street or park."