Nick Acfield, Partnerships Manager at what3words, explores the challenges estate agents and buyers face and how what3words provides a simple solution to improve viewings.

My brother bought his first house a few months ago and I was helping him find the right one. I’ll never forget attending one particularly stressful property viewing. We had a booking for 2pm and at 2:05pm we were miles away, driving around a new property development just outside Bristol, trying to find one particular street in a sea of identical roads. When we finally arrived, flustered and half an hour late, a couple were already looking around the property. It made for an awkward arrival and a bad first impression of the property.

On average, it takes buyers 8 to 12 weeks 1 to find the right property, involving numerous trips to property viewings. Demand for properties is high, with many homes getting snapped up within a week or two, leading to bidding wars and lots of stress.

That’s why estate agents around the UK are using what3words to make the viewings as effortless as possible.

What is what3words?

what3words is a simple addressing solution that makes it easy to find any exact location.

It has divided the entire world into a grid of 3 metre squares and given each one a unique address made of three random words: a what3words address. For example, ///filled.count.soap identifies the exact entrance to what3words HQ in London.

what3words is a really simple way for estate agents to communicate the precise location of a property viewing to potential buyers, ensuring they’ll arrive relaxed because they know exactly where to go. It’s used across the property industry by estate agents, property portals and CRM providers including Savills , OnTheMarket and Vault EA .

The addressing problem

Properties can be hard to find because street addresses are not precise enough to pinpoint a particular building entrance, front door or allocated parking spot.

For rural homes, postcodes can cover large areas including fields and farmland that are miles away from the property you’re looking for. It’s also common for these homes to have names rather than numbers, making it hard to narrow down their location.

The problem also exists for new builds that take time to appear on addressing databases and online maps. Many new builds, especially in urban areas, have several entrances making them doubly difficult to find.

Text confirmation of a booking featuring a what3words address

How to make property viewings easier with what3words

Make sure potential buyers arrive in the right place, at the right time

Nobody likes getting lost, especially when they’ve got a booked time slot that they’re worried they could be late for or miss. It is essential that the first viewing experience is as smooth and relaxing as possible, and this starts before they have even arrived – as they try to find the property.

what3words addresses are added to tens of thousands of listings on property portals each month. Propertynews.com in Northern Ireland and OnTheMarket all display what3words addresses on online listings making them easy to find. Estate agents can also add the what3words address to booking confirmations, SMS messages or brochures.

If people arrive late or have to call for directions, it takes time away from agents being able to give the best tour of the property. By sharing a what3words address, estate agents can make sure people know exactly where to arrive.

what3words has revolutionised the way we direct potential buyers to houses. it removes any risk of getting lost, and makes sure they arrive in a positive frame of mind rather than frustrated and late’ .
Ben Rivett, Joint Head of Residential, Savills

Add precise locations to listings and confirmations

Alongside busy viewing days, back in the office, estate agents have to build listings, a process that has to be as smooth and efficient as possible.

Popular CRMs including Vault EA , Apex 27 , Dezrez , Acquaint CRM and Property Hive have all integrated what3words making it easy for estate agents to add what3words addresses to listings and confirmations. The integration allows the agent to enter or select the correct what3words address for the property (usually the front door) but, like the example below, the agent can also add the address for parking and the position of the board. This is then fed through to viewing confirmations and onto listings descriptions (at the agent’s discretion).

Some of the CRM integrations that enable estate agents to add what3words addresses for property
These are some of the CRM integrations that enable estate agents to add what3words addresses for property locations simply and easily.

Deliver a fun and memorable service

I’m sure we’ve all seen the articles about making houses seem more appealing by brewing fresh coffee or baking cookies in the kitchen. Using what3words can also boost the viewing experience for potential buyers. Arriving at the front door after being given a unique address made of 3 words is a memorable way to experience a property for the first time.

It’s also a nice touch to add a what3words sign or fridge magnet in new home packs. It helps buyers remember the what3words address for their home that they can add to deliveries or give it to moving van drivers to help them unload in exactly the right spot.

Start using what3words to improve the viewing experience

Whether you’re an agent, software provider or portal, find out how you can integrate what3words.