Virtual Reality Usage in Real Estate (Part 4 of 6)
Sep 12, 2016
Virtual Reality: Practical Uses in Real Estate
In the first 3 parts of this 6 part series, we discussed the basics of Virtual Reality (VR) and how it is used in education, training, and healthcare. Today we look at applications for VR in the real estate industry.
Imagine your job transfers you overseas. You need to find a new place to live, but you can’t take off a couple weeks to look for a house. What would you do? In the future, you might find yourself virtually touring homes in Europe from the office of a real estate agent in the United States. It might seem far-fetched, but this is only one of the many ways VR may impact how we buy homes. From the design process, to marketing, to house hunting….things are about to get virtual.
Virtual House Hunting
Sotheby’s International Reality is one of the first real estate groups to employ Virtual Reality. They currently use Samsung Gear VR to sell luxury homes. Agents can lead a tour remotely with clients all over the world. Home buyers have the convenience of touring several homes via VR to narrow down choices for actual visits.
Currently, this process works best with high-end homes or large developments because the cost of scanning homes for VR is quite expensive. However, experts believe VR tours will trickle down to lower cost homes in 5 years.
Benefits of VR for Real Estate
Virtual tours are not the only beneficial application of VR for the real estate industry. Developers, designers, and architects use VR to design homes, businesses, subdivisions, and retail outlets. Then VR allows them to share their vision with clients in a more meaningful manner. Clients virtually walk through the designed space and experience how it will function for them.
This is especially beneficial when selling units in new developments that are in the initial stages of construction. Agents at the new Luma condominium development in Seattle employed VR to show units to potential buyers. Previously they relied on blueprints to pre-sell units.
In fact, an entirely new type of business is emerging to provide virtual real estate content. Both Studio 216 and Virtual Xperience develop virtual tours of existing homes and planned developments. They even use drones to show buyers the views from their potential condo.
VR also provides a method of staging empty properties and customizing the space to the buyer’s needs. Often buyers have difficulty visualizing how an empty space will function. VR allows agents and developers a way to fully demonstrate how the property will look.
Another application involves what some agents call “problem properties” that need renovation or repairs. Agents, contractors, and interior designers use VR to demonstrate improvements and remodeling.
Real estate agencies use VR to supplement marketing strategies. Agents can lead presentations from any location. VR presentations offer convenience and efficient use of time for both agents and buyers. Offering virtual presentations gives agents an advantage over the competition.
— Affordable headsets. Cardboard headsets are now available in a wide price range and prices continue to drop for higher quality VR headsets. Most real estate agencies can purchase several dozen headsets for clients to use for under $15 each. Clients can also purchase their own to use at home when searching for properties online with your logo on them. Geek Tech Branding offers a large selection of VR headsets that can be custom printed with your agency’s name or logo.
— iOS and Android compatibility. With economical headset choices, clients and agents can utilize their own tablets, phones, and other devices to view properties and developments.
These two developments make VR more accessible to the general public and to smaller agencies. Very soon you’ll begin to notice real estate agencies near you adopting VR technology. In our next installment, we’ll discuss VR applications in the travel industry. See you then!