Study estimates that agents spend £188.4m a year conducting viewings

The property viewings process costs estate agents an estimated £188.4m a year, according to new research by U-See Homes.

The virtual property viewings platform has based the study on the average earnings of £34,583, which it says means that the average estate agent takes home an hourly rate of £16.63.

Based on the assumption that the average viewing takes approximately one hour, which as any agent will know is highly unlikely, and with an average journey time of 20 mins per viewing – again, this is hard to measure, U-See Homes, which clearly has a vested interest in trying to encourage more agents to conduct virtual viewings, claims that it costs £22.17 on average per viewing where an agent’s time is concerned.

When you also consider the cost in fuel, which U-See Homes says for the average company car stands at £1.08 per viewing, this brings the hypothetical total cost to £23.25.

U-See Homes says that the average home requires 10 viewings in order to sell, and so estimates that it costs £233 per property on average.

Based on the calculation that 810,401 homes sold in the last 12 months across the UK, that is a total cost incurred of £188.4m to UK estate agents as a result of physical viewings.

Here comes the pitch:

U-See Homes says that by opting to replace just the first initial physical viewing in the property viewing process, with a virtual tour, estate agents could potentially save a considerable sum in time and fuel.

If each home required just nine physical viewings, U-See Homes says that it would cut the cost incurred by the industry by £18.8m per year to £169.6m, based on its rough estimate.

Simon Dempsey, head of marketing for U-See Homes, said: “There’s no future version of the property market that will see the physical viewing process be completely replaced and homebuyers are always going to want to take a fine tooth combe to any home they’re thinking of buying in person.

“However, estate agents spend a considerable amount of time and money conducting initial physical viewings that could easily be replaced by a guided virtual tour. In fact, utilising virtual guided tours could help them showcase three or four homes in the time it would take to conduct one physical viewing.

“The industry has never been busier and the old adage that time is money has never been more relevant. With huge backlogs of transactions waiting to complete and a relentless tide of buyer demand, estate agents are up against it at the moment and utilising technology to help streamline their day to day tasks is one way of helping to turn the tide in their favour.”


Data point Cost per viewing Cost per House (@ 10 viewings) Cost per Year Notes
Agent time £22.173 £221.73 £179,692,915 Based on the gross annual pay of £34,583 and an average viewing time of 1:20 at £16.63 per hour (40 hour week)
Fuel £1.078 £10.78 £8,736,123 Based on a 10 mile trip at 55 MPG
Total £23.251 £232.51 £188,429,038 Based on 810,401 UK transactions over the last 12 months (Mar 2020 to Feb 2021)

Note: full figures used in calculations and so there may be some slight differences due to rounding


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  1. PeeBee


    The evacuation of bodily waste process costs estate agents an estimated £728.6m a year*, according to new research by Andrex.

    Loo breaks (based on an average time of 4.63 minutes for a “number one” and 19.86 minutes for a “number two”) are, it is claimed, the most expensive element of running an Estate Agency – even beating Rightmove fees into a cocked hat (although it is thought that this will not be the case by 2026 based on current increases…)

    But it’s not all bad news.

    “Emptying the tanks” is, it is claimed, an essential part of the day-to-day life of Estate Agency and often leads to more efficient working when back at the coalface.

    Whilst of course the company who produced the “research” has a somewhat vested interest in the activity (or at least the ‘paperwork’ side of things), there is also the real possibility of reducing the usage of their product – and thus contributing to global waste reduction – by having your competitors’ touting leaflets handy for the mopping up process.  It worked well with the News of the World, after all…

    Thankfully there is help at hand.  Agents can now engage the services of “Specialist High Intensity Trainers” to coach their staff on more efficient potty processes, who will be working on a paid-by-results basis.

    There is no need to print a list of these S. H. I. Ts – I’m sure you will all know exactly who is involved and who isn’t…


    *For clarity, the extraordinarily high cost of spending a penny or dumping a pound is based upon some complete ubernumpty’s 2016 ‘findings’ that an Estate Agent earns £920 per hour.

    Whoever that was…

    1. BillyTheFish

      Someone has a lot of time

      1. PeeBee

        I would imagine some people do.  That took me all of four minutes… guess where I was for the inspiration!

        1. SteveInTheSouth

          On a viewing?

  2. claris

    What a load of twaddle. If you don’t do viewings and get to meet your buyers/tenants personally you often don’t fully understand what they want, like or dislike about a property which gives you the advantage of being able to place them into a property that they will like. Virtual viewings are all well and good but don’t provide a feel of the property or the atmosphere.

  3. Andrew Stanton Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    Claris, I think that is why cloud computing was invented, to utilise software so the right person viewed the right property, that person being pre-qualified by software, the viewing booked by software, the DIP prepared by software, the ID check prepared by software, the AML covered by software, the mortgage selected using software, the application completed using software, the underwriting done by software, and the use of an AVM, the conveyancing (Well that is where we enter 1965) done by lots of bits of paper and lovely files.

    So the concept of getting to know your buyer or tenant should be done when they enter your CRM or connect to your agency via probably their smart phone. Maybe in 1985 – going to ‘meet’ a buyer was the place to find everything out as I once did – but in the 2030 agency world, it will be interesting to see what role analogue agent actually has, wasting hours on viewings is probably not going to be on their menu.

  4. Andrew Stanton Proptech Real Estate Influencer

    Also, there were 1.4M sales agreed in the last year, which nets down to 1.1 M completions plus the reviews so maybe another 600,000 viewings. Then add in the lettings viewings, and I think you are at 3.56 M viewings a year easily. Also there is the lost cost of the salesperson doing a viewing when they could use that hour to gain an instruction, save a sale, gain a landlord etc. So multiply that in and saving viewings is a big business and adds UX for the vendor/landlord and the buyer/tenant. Also think green, how many less car journeys etc, the maths gets quite large.

    That is the problem with agency – very much, we do it this way we always did, so too did Woolworth’s, most of the retail companies that used to be on the high street, what happened – digital models appeared, people became replaced by efficient software.

    And banking – Lloyds had 2,500 branches it has 800 and closing more – who goes to a physical bank, 20 years ago everyone, now well it has been a long time since I went to one.

    1. PeeBee

      “…now well it has been a long time since I went to one.”

      Proof – if needed – that you really need to get out more, Mr Stanton! ;o)

      You really don’t know what you’re missing, then!  You see, “Banks” are “places” (*) where “people” “go”, who either can’t… or simply don’t want to… do their business via a computer or smartphone screen.  Or don’t want to speak to some faceless callcentre seat-jockey.  They want to “see” another “person”.  For some, it is a necessity they endure – some less patiently and quietly than others.  For others – they may actually enjoy the experience… especially the fidgets and moans from those in the previous camp!

      There are some strange “people” who frequent these “places” – but your life is genuinely enriched by the experience of seeing them in action and even interacting with some of them, as is usually the case.  It can be as little as a smile or wave – both of which are proven to have beneficial effect on a “person”; or it can lead to enthralling conversation in which you may well learn something you didn’t know before, and/or impart some of your own knowledge to the other party.

      Trust me… you really should try it some time.

      Of course there are also the benefits of leaving one’s desk or sofa and “getting some exercise” and “fresh air” – but Peloton seem to want to corner the market (for the former at least).  If they can bottle fresh air and supply it with their equipment maybe even going outdoors will become redundant?

      Maybe that’s to come – Peloton #2 – “The Total Package” ?

      Who knows?

      In the meantime – go to the bank.


      (*) for the avoidance of doubt, “places” include can and does the following:

      “supermarkets”… “butchers”… “greengrocers”… libraries”… “museums”… “solicitors”… “takeaways”… “jewellers”…


      …Estate Agents”.

      (a fuller list of “places” is available on every “High Street” in the UK)


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