How Virtual Reality is Changing Real Estate

Virtual Reality - Cover

Tenants are purchasing apartments and office spaces that have not been built – yet they’ve been able to walk through the space and experience the view thanks to virtual reality technology.

Commercial real estate is an early adopter according to the Wall Street Journal. The agents and builders see the value of moving the purchase phase prior to the build phase by giving their clients a more compelling experience than a floor plan and some artistic mock-ups.

Residential builders have also begun to embrace this trend, working with digital companies to convert their planned inventory into virtual environments. Utilizing a $99 Samsung Gear VR headset and a $500 Samsung phone, agents are able to transport their prospective clients into the future of the development, with 3D renderings of available home models.

Even Inman News has embraced it, putting it at the top of their “3 trends agents should look out for in 2016” post.

The Experience

Joel Burslem of 1000Watt, a real estate marketing firm, recently experienced this for the first time at a Matterport booth in Denver. “The experience is transformative. I toured a home from thousands of miles away. I remember the master bedroom and how it was connected to the kids rooms down the hall. I remember the ensuite bathroom and the fixtures inside. To this day, it still feels like I have walked through that home.

“And that’s the key. I formed memories it – lucid, technicolor memories of a structure I have never been anywhere close to. Browsing photos in an app or watching videos on a webpage doesn’t even come close.”[SOURCE]

As this technology develops and drops in price, you can expect that it will become more prevalent in the post-build phase of residential real estate. Buyers agents will be able to bring their clients into the office to experience 30 houses in an afternoon rather than driving all over the city on a weekend. Buyers will be able to test how their furniture will fit into the space and be able to modify the environment to see how different wall colors and floor textures will customize it to their personal tastes. Many will still want to visit their top choices in person, but agents are already seeing homes sold sight unseen to people from out of town when compelling digital showings are offered.

Facebook sees the potential in this, having paid out $2 billion to purchase the industry pioneer, Oculus Rift, in 2014. Pre-orders for the flagship product (which requires a high end PC to render complex environments) opened on January 6th. Within 2 hours, all of their March and April inventory was snatched up and within a couple weeks their May and June inventory was sold out as well.

Reducing the Barrier to Entry

Not everyone is ready to go out and spend on a high end computer and Oculus Rift or even the Samsung phone + Gear VR combo, so Google came up with a solution. Google Cardboard is a pair of plastic lenses and some folded cardboard, it retails around $10 that allows you to experience virtual reality with your existing smart phone. Just download the app and you can start experiencing cool virtual reality apps like –

» Toursler – A digital showing technology that now comes with a Google Cardboard app. See an example of their work below.


Profiles in Innovation: The Real Deal with Virtual and Augmented Reality (May 2016)

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