The Changing Face Of Real Estate- How VR Is Reshaping Realty
“The best investment on earth is earth.” -Louis Glickman
Can you describe what your dream house looks like?
Does it have a backyard or a front yard?
Will it have a pool?
I bet there is a vivid image forming in your head of a house with a big yard and a pool now that you have read the above lines; However, despite mentioning these two amenities, the specifications of the house will still differ from person to person.
While you might be imagining a house with a big front yard and an open pool, the person next to you might be imagining a house with a backyard and an indoor pool or no pool at all. There are so many different variations of what the perfect house might look like for different people.
Now imagine exploring all those different properties without even leaving your couch. No rushing from work and fighting traffic, and blowing expensive fuel to tour different prospective homes. Sounds amazing right? The realtors of today have embraced the boon of technology by incorporating Virtual Reality into their business and reshaped the process of buying/ renting to match the tech-savvy generation of millennials and Gen Z.
Out With The Old, In With The New- AR/VR & Real Estate
No matter where you live in the world, house-hunting is an activity that commonly frustrates everyone. Whether you rent or are looking to buy your first home, house-hunting in this day and age is a menace. But, like almost all problems today, technology has a solution for this one as well—virtual reality.
Although many popular real estate websites existed before the covid-19 pandemic, the lockdown restrictions and risks of leaving the safety of your home to hunt for the next one only propelled the integration of virtual reality in real estate.
For a long time, AR/VR was only commonly used for gaming and entertainment purposes. Still, the pandemic really pushed the realtors to come up with this innovative approach to offer their clients a solution to their housing problems.
Prior to the pandemic, most people relied on meeting real estate agents face-to-face to discuss and describe their leasing requirements. It was an elaborate process that involved a lot of manual research, searching for good-reviewed real estate agents, keeping an eye out on the classified section of the newspapers and magazines, making time to visit different shortlisted properties, etc.
Cut to now when you can Google various real-estate websites and join social media pages and groups of property listings, stated city-wise, to know the availability of different properties.
(Source: Credited in image)
The digital age has boosted the discoverability of real estate to create a better property buying/ renting experience for all. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 44% of home buyers start their journey by doing a basic search on the internet first about available properties and rates.
Real estate marketers and entrepreneurs started to capitalize on the growing trend of online shopping convenience, Virtual reality– a 3D environment that you can interact with, which only further ignited the idea to let their clients experience their next home in their current home.
How Virtual Reality Adds Value To The Real Estate Industry
The global real estate market was valued at $3.81 trillion at the end of 2022 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.2% till 2030. That’s a huge amount but easily believable, too, as everyone knows the whopping rates of real estate these days.
If you have ever bought or sold any property, you must know how the real estate business operates. As mentioned before, it typically starts with approaching a real estate agent, negotiating your budget as per the amenities you want, and then the agent shows you different properties; you shortlist a few as per your liking and begin the live touring of the shortlisted properties.
This is a time-consuming process for both the buyer and the agent, and also the exact reason why virtual reality comes out as a game-changer for both parties.
Uses of Virtual Reality In Real Estate
Here are the top uses of virtual reality in real estate that can convince you to invest in this technology as a realtor immediately.
1. Virtual Showcases For Properties
Housing is a serious matter. Whether you are buying or renting, it will be a safe space for you to unwind that you will either inhabit alone or share with your loved ones.
Hence visiting several houses before finalizing the one that ticks all or most of the requirements and comfort boxes is the general norm. This is a tricky stage for both realtors and clients since realtors need to find and list properties that fall under the client’s preferred area and locality, and clients need to find enough time to tour all of them. Lots of time and money go into this stage.
However, with VR technology, this problem can be easily solved. People can virtually visit as many properties as they like and at their preferred time. The only indispensable asset is a VR headset. Realtors can help their clients experience an immersive tour of the property with a 360-degree view where they can easily look up to see how high the ceiling is or how far the kitchen is from the bedroom.
Real estate agencies can partner up with companies like Matterport, who specialize in digitizing spatial data, essentially helping realtors create a 3D “digital twin” of the property that they can put up with the listing of the house and its images.
There are 2 main types of 3D virtual showcases:
- Guided tours where clients are given a virtual 360 degree panoramic view of the property in the form of a video. There is no extra programming or requirement of hightech tools. A simple VR headset can suffice for an immersive experience of the place.
- Interactive tours that lets clients decide which hotspot they want to check out in the property by clicking on the space. You can check out this virtual tour by Marathon realty in Mumbai, India for better understanding of the concept.
2. Virtual Staging For Virtual Tours
Imagining a home in a house is easier with furniture in it. But that in itself is a hassle because where will the furniture go after the showcase is over?
Marketers often capitalize on such dealings by renting furniture for the showcased properties as they can make good sales and increase brand penetration this way. But then again, this trick is not always suitable, so realtors can easily turn to virtual staging.
Through virtual staging, realtors can create an air of sophistication for their clients while making the property look homier, which often tends to pitch the deal in their favour. Companies like rooomy have expertise in VR staging services for real estate companies and add significant value to the entire virtual touring experience for potential buyers.
3. Architectural Visualization For Homes
Given the sky-high prices of properties, many home buyers, especially experienced buyers who know this trick of the trade, prefer buying properties that are still under construction since the prices are a little cheaper than those of built houses.
But the issue here is selling a property that has yet to be built merely on a vision is quite tricky for realtors. Although the 3D diorama models that developers use to market the property do give a basic idea about the architecture, it is still a long shot from the actual experience.
Creating model houses is one way to go about marketing properties that are still under development, but it requires a huge investment. Meanwhile, virtual reality can solve this problem more cost-efficiently by allowing potential buyers to investigate the architecture and interior of the property immersively.
It has made selling and marketing properties easy for developers and realtors, as clients can simply take a virtual tour of the exterior amenities and various interior options for the place.
Render image studio in Mumbai, India is one such company that has been in the architectural domain for over a decade now. Providing end-to-end solutions to their customers and boasting of 750+ successful projects for big architectural firms, interior firms, real estate developers, etc.
Similarly there are many competent VR companies in metropolitan and smart cities like Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Chennai that realtors can reach out to discuss integrating virtual reality in their real estate business.
4. The Opportunity Of Virtual Commerce
As discussed briefly, many marketers use the opportunity of the open house showcases to market their furniture brands and products. The same brands can still grasp this opportunity through virtual commerce.
Instead of placing their products or interior services in person at the property, brands can collaborate with architectural firms, real estate developers, and real estate agents to display their products during the virtual staging process.
Clients can simply visit brand websites to shop for the same furniture that they saw during their virtual tour of the place. Like the different options available in an interior decoration game, clients can choose different variations of curtains and tables to go with their home aesthetic while taking a virtual tour.
This technique of cross-selling can still be profitable to multiple stakeholders in the process of property buying and selling.
Why Should Realtors Invest In Virtual Reality?
Despite reading through the various beneficial practices for virtual reality in real estate, realtors may hesitate to invest in this technology. It is pretty normal to doubt whether VR is worth your dime.
Therefore, to push our point across, here are some immediate benefits to help you tip in favour of VR in real estate.
1. Time Saving
This is the most common point that has repeatedly risen in our discussion of how VR basically gives a facelift to the real estate industry. Time is money, and hence saving time is the most significant benefit that comes out of investing in VR tech for the real estate business.
Realtors can handle multiple clients and their queries without feeling like 24 hours are not enough in a day—no more traffic jams or facing air pollution to rush from one property showing to another. Clients will also be more open to negotiations as they can easily compare one property to another without physically going back and forth between places.
2. Global Scope
Due to the fact that one realtor can’t be in multiple places at the same time, the scope of spreading their real estate business becomes limited to specific areas or localities for agents.
With VR, these boundaries can easily be smashed as realtors can increase their productivity and outreach through virtual property tours. Big real estate agents can even aim to list locations by sitting in different cities altogether.
This way, real estate agents can entertain long-distance buyers as well. They just need to get in touch with competent VR agencies in that particular region to help them create virtual tours of different listed properties.
For example, an agent sitting in Delhi, India can contact a VR agency in Mumbai to create virtual tours and do the entire business online while only having to fly to the city for final negotiations if required.
3. Saves Your Pennies
While it may seem expensive at first to create a virtual tour of different properties, think of the ROI of this feature. Realtors will save a lot of money by avoiding manual marketing tactics as well as resources that are wasted during the personal showcasing of properties.
This simulation helps realtors become more productive and avoid wasting their time and expense on every single lead that may or may not be converted. Think long-term and think about the value that deploying this technology can add to your brand as a tech-savvy brand.
4. Instant Sense Of Belonging
Selling a property to people differs from selling any other retail product or service. Whether the property is for residential or commercial use, there is a sense of comfort and belonging that an individual seeks from that place as they will be spending a significant amount of time there.
While clients can’t always visit each property personally at any time due to physical barriers, through VR tours, that stigma is broken. The clients can view the property as many times as they require before signing the papers for it, and that kind of convenience just adds an instant sense of ownership and belonging that is an essential factor while dealing with real estate.
5. Selling A Vision
This seems self-explanatory, given our topic of discussion. Virtual tours and staging can help clients build on their imagination. Realtors are not just selling four walls to their clients; through these tours, they are aiming to sell a vision—a vision of a home.
Customization in the virtual staging phase allows clients to see this vision and makes the dealing tip in favour of a purchase when they experience the property, pay attention to detail, walk around, and get to build an emotional connection with the place.
Architectural visualization aims to sell a more interactive and seemingly real vision to buyers instead of what can be rendered through 2D images.
6. Helps In MakIng An Informed Choice
The immersive nature of virtual reality helps clients make an informed choice about the kind of infrastructure they would be paying for.
Pictures can portray a thousand words, but through virtual reality, clients can measure the distance between their heads and the ceiling fan or their couch and the window without actually having to visit the place. Comparison between different properties becomes easy, lowering realtors' conversion time per client.
The impact of AR/VR tech on the real estate industry is too potent to overlook. Hence adopting this version of marketing and visualizing real estate is the best solution for realtors, whose lead the tenants and home buyers will only follow once they see how convenient shopping for a house can be through AR/VR. The various retail options available on such properties that are either too far to visit in person or still under renovation or construction become so much easier by employing this tech to bring life to your vision of a perfect home.
Erik Watson, a content crafter at GoodFirms who intends to share his outlook on the fast-paced tech industry and all the new and exciting global trends with the audience through his writing. A writer by day and an avid reader by night, Erik enjoys exploring different genres that help him grow as a writer and an individual.
The time has come for an underrated idea such as soft skills to go mainstream. To rock-and-roll. To make bosses mind their emotions. continue reading
This News Story Blog details the importance of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality and the role of hea ... continue reading
This article helps you explore the world of virtual reality. It discusses the working, scope, benefits, and application ... continue reading