The typical workflow of buying and selling real estate has become stale and time-consuming, even in 2020. Looking at list upon list of properties, sitting through negotiations, and following through with in-person visits to countless houses and apartments can get tedious and takes up a significant amount of time for realtors and homebuyers.
Thankfully, there is a new way to work through the real estate and home buying process. Virtual reality (VR) is turning the real estate industry upside down as more firms flock to its advanced capabilities. VR helps real estate agencies grow their firms, attract new clients, and provide cutting-edge services to potential buyers.
In most use cases, virtual reality is used for gaming and entertainment purposes. However, VR tech is increasingly being used in other industries, especially real estate.
How is VR used in real estate?
- Property showcases
In traditional real estate practices, potential buyers visit several different properties before landing on the best one for their needs. In-person visits take significant time and can have logistics issues if the property is far from where the client is located. There are also often expenses involved with property visits, for both the buyer and the agent.
With VR, buyers can virtually visit as many properties as they wish all from their couches. With VR headsets, buyers enter immersive VR models of the properties that allow them to do 3D walkthroughs. They can view the home from every angle and see all the small details that 2D images can miss. In one afternoon, buyers can visit dozens of properties and make an informed decision on which one is best for an in-person visit.
The two types of virtual tours are guided visits and interactive visits. Guided visits are tours for existing properties with fully virtual environments or 360-degree videos. Guided visits are often less expensive to put together and usually only require a panoramic camera. Clients should still wear a VR headset. In interactive tours, consumers can move around a property where they want and at will. They can click on highlighted areas in their field of view to proceed to a new section of the property. Interactive visits are more expensive and require specialized tools to create.
Staging can get expensive, but not staging a property can turn potential buyers away. Consumers want to see what a property will look like once they move in, not before any furniture moves in. In a virtual model of the home, developers can fully furnish the property for staging.
According to the National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Staging report, 77% of real estate agents say that adequate staging helps buyers visualize themselves in their future home.
Virtual reality lets realtors furnish an apartment with less investment and no physical furnishings.
- Architectural visualization
It’s usually challenging to market a property that hasn’t broken ground or is only halfway through construction. To help, developers build large 3D models showing a property or neighborhood which helps buyers visualize the architecture.
However, 3D models do little for the architecture of the property interiors. Instead of small 3D models, marketers use large showrooms with full-scale models of the rooms or apartments, which is a significant investment. With the incoming of VR, it is now possible to forgo the substantial investment and instead create 3D models in virtual reality. Consumers can view the inside and outside of new properties.
VR has made architectural visualization less expensive and more immersive than it ever was before.
- Instructions for tenants
Communication between tenants and landlords or real estate agents has always been challenging. With virtual reality, landlords can communicate with their tenants through VR headsets. Tenants can view virtual tours to understand better how their utility services work. Landlords can avoid unnecessary and time-consuming visits with their tenants. VR is also useful for vacation rentals with high turn over rates. With virtual instructions, tenants can quickly learn what they need to know about a property without having to make phone calls and wait until someone comes.
VR in real estate goes hand-in-hand with commerce in terms of purchasing furnishing, paint colors, and upgrades for a new home. During a VR tour, buyers can go to a virtual store and purchase items and upgrades that they want in their new home. Users can style the property the way they want and fully customize their future home.
If the clients make no changes to the interior, they might look through virtual catalogs of furniture, curtains, and other furnishings to purchase for their home, which adds to the commerce element.
What are the benefits of VR in real estate?
- Saves time
Virtual reality is an amazing new technology for the real estate sector. It allows agents to save significant amounts of time during the showing and buying process with clients. Agents do not have to brings potential buyers to property after property. Instead, they can set their clients up with VR headsets so that they can view dozens of sites in one sitting. Once they have their preferred properties listed, they can schedule in-person visits. This is a more economical approach that is beneficial to the agent and the buyer.
- Global reach
It’s naturally challenging for clients to buy a property if it is located far from where they are situated. Long-distance property visits take time and cost money, which is particularly frustrating if the property is not the right one for the client. VR enables clients to view homes far away and around the world from their couches with little to no cost or time investment.
- Saves money
Producing 3D tours sounds expensive, but it is now more affordable than ever and can save money in the long term. The technology is more mainstream, making it less expensive, and without the need to physically stage the home or take large volumes of high-quality photos, agents save money.
Through realistic visualization of the property, clients can see themselves in the home and take mental ownership of the property. Clients are more likely to buy a property that they can visualize themselves living inside. VR home tours let buyer’s walk through a property and picture their furniture and their interior design. A virtual visit is one of the best and quickest ways to nudge a client to purchase a home.