How Virtual Reality Could Change Real Estate
Imagination is a powerful element in all walks of life. Science fiction has become reality in many of the modern technological breakthroughs. A new technology has made its way into the real estate industry, giving sellers and buyers a new way to interact with the properties and homes for sale that they are interested in. Today, consumers who want to buy a home in today’s market may have a choice of methods for viewing the property.
Real Estate – In The Old Days
Thirty years ago, REALTORS had very limited means of showing homes for sale to potential buyers. In those days, the multiple listing system (MLS) was printed and disseminated weekly to real estate agents and brokers. They then moved to daily faxes being sent to all of the local brokerage offices.
Technology Changed Real Estate
As real estate technology progressed, the MLS started sending listings out via IDX feeds to local brokers. This let the local brokers, that were members of the local MLS, display up to date listing inventory on their websites. This changed the industry into searching real estate listings online with pictures of homes, up to date listing information, property descriptions and even guided imagery (virtual tours and videos) as potential home buyers viewed the available listing inventory in their area.
Technology Trends in Real Estate
Is virtual reality the newest trend? Although there is already some level of three dimensional viewing of homes by companies such as Matterport, the ability to virtually “feel like you are in the home” has still eluded the real estate buying process.
The process of creating a 3-D viewing of a home can be a little complected. Photographers take pictures from every angle and software stitches those photos together. The final product is a more natural looking representation of the property than a traditional two-dimensional photo can provide. We are seeing multiple ways that this technology is being introduced to the real estate buying process.
The idea of true Virtual Reality for Real Estate takes this to the next level. With the viewers full field of vision being occupied by the home being viewed, coupled with the users head movement changing what they see.
The Many Uses of VR in Real Estate
With venture capital funding many of the new technology tools for real estate, we are seeing the development of Virtual Reality being used in a variety of ways. Companies have developed, and are continuing to develop, technology that will bring properties to life so that buyers, sellers, developers, and real estate agents can have access to properties, even before they are built.
Visualizing architecture that has not been built is challenging, but the rise of virtual reality in real estate allows buyers to preview these properties, both inside and outside, to have an understanding of what they will be getting.
So, not only is it an emerging trend in the buying and selling of residential properties, it is also a way for developers to promote properties that are in the development stage as well as those that are already built. The interactivity of this new technology is appealing to consumers.
Uses by REALTORS
This can be a win for the technologically savvy real estate agent as he or she could impress potential buyers leveraging VR as opposed to driving from home to home and consuming everyone’s valuable time. then appointments and physical showings can be narrowed down only to the homes that are a good fit for the potential homeowner.
Although we are not at that point yet, we can see this type of property showing quickly approaching. With millennials (who have grown up with technology) now purchasing homes, as this cutting edge home technology takes off, it will likely leave non-compliant agents in the dust.
VR Appeals to Many People
REALTORS can boast an online open house that are available any time a buyer is ready to see the home. This will be especially appealing to the younger generation of home buyers who expect instant gratification in their daily lives. We are not far away from a time in which a REALTOR will bring a virtual reality headset to a listing presentation to show clients what potential buyers will see when they look at their home.
The attraction to the real estate firms is that, for the firms that implement it, it could provide a competitive advantage over other real estate brokerages. The “WOW factor” alone could help to promote the brokerage.
For homeowners that are getting ready to sell, they simply want the home to sell as quickly as possible. At the end of the day, both the real estate agent and the seller both want to utilize the most effective marketing and sell the home with the fewest days on the market.
The Relocation Market
The ability to bring an actual experience of a distant location into a hand-held device is a coup. Remotely showcasing properties to qualified buyers is an economic way to “walk through” a property thousands of miles away. It helps the businessman stand out from the crowd.
For those people relocating to a new city, Virtual Reality can make the home buying process substantially less stressful and even shorten the time to find the perfect home.
Using a virtual reality headset, potential buyers can tour a property in 3-D mode and, with one click, be able to see different versions of what it could look like. This is especially helpful when selling fixer upper properties. Agents can walk buyers through a property remotely while having the same view as the clients, and that assists REALTORS in selling homes to consumers who have not actually seen the property.
A Constantly Changing Industry
As virtual reality continues to revolutionize multiple industry’s , more real estate companies will use the technology and run simple 360-degree camera and computer graphics, which is readily accessible today. With the video gaming industry behind virtual reality, we are expecting to see more sophisticated uses of VR in many industries.
Virtual reality allows for both guided tours, which move home buyers through the property to show it in its entirety, and interactive visits, which allow consumers to control where they want to go within the property.
Virtual reality technology provides an avenue for users to see properties while sitting in the comfort of their own living rooms. While this usage is new to real estate, it has been a part of the game industry for quite some time. Realtors can entice more clients, serve them better, and grow their businesses exponentially.
Staging a Home
Staging a property has become an effective sales tool in the real estate professional’s arsenal, but moving furniture and decor physically is time consuming and costly. Virtual staging may be the next frontier in the staging arena because it allows REALTORS to place, and change at will, furnishings and decor to enhance a vacant property or to show how a buyer’s own furniture may appear in the space.
Not Just for REALTORS
Not only will virtual reality benefit the real estate market for buyers and sellers, but it can be effective for house flippers and fixers. The ability to superimpose furniture, appliances, decor, etc. allows the purchaser to have a better realization of what could be a reality for the space. It is easy to make changes and have the buyers input. Interior designers and contractors can use this technology in many different projects.
Landlord/tenant communication improves when potential tenants can virtually walk through a rental. It saves time for the landlord or property manager, who can wisely spend their time and energy on tenants who seriously qualify or who seriously desire the unit.
In addition to walk through, a library of property videos could be accessible to tenants who need questions answered about the working of the rental unit. This can be especially useful for short-term rentals, such as vacation rentals, allowing managers to communicate via virtual reality to answer basic questions about the rental as well as information about the city or neighborhood.
Just as the internet changed the viewing habits of buyers with the ability to view real estate listings online, so virtual reality has the potential to change the way buyers, sellers, renters, and property managers will do business in the future.