Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

14.05 6 Feb 2021


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People are purchasing new homes without ever having viewed the house in person, according to one estate agent.

The Department of Housing issued guidance last month that seeing property to rent or buy should be done online.

Additionally, a physical viewing is only allowed at the point where a tenancy agreement is being entered into or where a contract for sale has been drawn up.

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This approach "balances the need to avoid social interaction with the need to provide a pathway to tenancy and homeownership for those who need it", the guidance added.

Conn Nagle, Director of Global Properties Ltd in Cork, told Down to Business with Bobby Kerr that people have been happy with the online viewings.

He said: "The property service regulator brought in rules in June or July saying we could only show houses as long as people have looked at a 3D virtual tour online of the property and confirmed and proved that they have the funds.

"We're showing houses a lot less but we're showing them to very interested people.

"The tyre kickers are gone, it's great now with MyHome.ie and Daft.ie, they're hosting the 3D virtual tours."

These tours allow prospective buyers to look at all aspects of a property at a time which is convenient to them, with people reporting their satisfaction with the technology, Mr Nagle said.

"Last year and the year before, we sold four or five houses where people did not set foot in the houses until after they bought it," he stated.

"So far this year, we have sale agreed on three houses, two in January and one already in February, where the buyer has not set foot inside the house."

People buying houses 'without setting foot in the door'

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Speaking on the same programme, Angela Keegan, Managing Director of MyHome.ie, said the market was changing.

"I think it's a small amount of houses that were sold without seeing them," she said.

"You have to remember, it's the biggest financial transaction most of us are going to undertake in our lifetime.

She said there are some people "very comfortable" in only viewing the properties online, and there will be more of this in the future, but the majority of buyers will continue to want to see houses in person.

There is "so much technology out there now" to facilitate people viewing homes online, but buying houses this way is "the exception rather than the rule" for most of the public, Ms Keegan added.

Main image: For sale signs by O'Connor and Shannon and Sherry Fitzgerald outside houses in Harolds Cross in Dublin. Picture by: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

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