When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States, life got virtual. Board meetings were replaced with Zoom meetings and classrooms met online. Restaurants and retailers quickly adapted to a curbside pickup model.
Lockdowns and restrictions are almost all lifted now, but some remnants of our stay-at-home lifestyle remain. Many retailers and restaurants have kept their virtual shopping and curbside pickup options available. Some people are working from home and Zooming into their meetings.
What does this mean for Real Estate? Your client base may prefer to shop and work online.
Why would your clients fight traffic to get to the store when they can order online and have their goods delivered? Why would potential home buyers schedule a string of in-person showings when they can see everything they need through virtual reality? With virtual reality real estate options, your clients can view real estate listings from their preferred locations.
Keep reading to learn more about how augmented reality can help your real estate business.
Virtual Reality Real Estate
So, what is virtual reality real estate? It's the use of 3D augmented imaging technology that gives a home tour experience. Clients get the feel of the space as though they are there when they could be hundreds or thousands of miles away.
Some companies offer virtual reality/augmented (VR/AV) visual devices. These are often expensive and require memberships.
Other companies offer cardboard viewers that attach to a smartphone. Users can turn smartphones into virtual reality devices by using an app and software. While less expensive, these services often have a steep learning curve for users.
Smartphone apps may also come with extra upcharges or costs for additional features.
Advantages to Virtual Reality Real Estate Technology
Homebuyers may want to see multiple listings. Those with traditional, full-time employment may be limited to weekend and evening hours. Using virtual reality real estate technology helps experienced and new homebuyers experience multiple listings without traveling to each site.
Eventually, your buyers may want to see homes in person. But how many times have you walked into a home and thought, "Wow! It didn't look like this in the pictures!"? Too many experiences like this can lead to buyer (and realtor) frustration.
It's much easier to weed out the "absolutely not!" listings with VR/AV tours. Homeowners can make a short list of their "love it!" homes and visit only the homes with buying potential.
Many people are hesitant to list their homes because they don't like the idea of open houses or showings. It can be unnerving to think about other people walking through your home when you're not there. Others dread the inconvenience of leaving your home immaculate all the time for last-minute showings.
Virtual reality real estate options give home sellers and their agents more control over the home-showing process.
Agents who offer virtual options to their clients can be more appealing than more traditional realtors. Real estate agents who use virtual reality real estate options can maximize their efficiency.
Some may feel intimidated by the learning curve of new technology. Others might not know how to invest in all the tools needed for virtual reality. Companies like Hommati offer easy-to-use VR/AV options for real estate agents. Hommati has tiered subscriptions for those who don't want much help to those who want full-service selling options.
Realtors can create detailed promotional or guided tours using 3D virtual reality tools. In addition to traditional photos, real estate agents can make guided tours of listings. These can include panoramic shots and a virtual video walk-through.
Guided video tours can highlight certain property features. Real estate agents can create 3D videos using smartphones and software. However, it may be a good idea to use a professional company with panoramic capabilities to make the video look polished and professional.
What about an interactive experience? With virtual reality real estate technology, agents can set up an interactive experience for their potential buyers. Potential buyers can walk through a home as though they are actually there.
As they walk through the home, they can see strategically placed circles. Click on a circle and they're transported to that place. They can pan to the left, right, up, or down to see more features of the home.
These interactive tours allow viewers to see light fixtures, outlet placements, and other features that are often hidden in traditional staged photos. Listings with interactive 3D tours get 40% more clicks and 49% more leads than listings without.
When most people think about virtual reality real estate, they think about 3D showings and tours. Here are some other ways virtual reality can help boost real estate businesses.
How-To Manuals for Tenants and Landlords
Some real estate agents are property owners themselves. Others are selling properties that have or need renters. Property owners can create how-to manuals for potential buyers and their tenants.
If tenants need to turn off the water, they can use augmented reality to see where supplies are kept. They can also watch instructional videos telling how to fix common issues with VR/AV technology. Features like this can help landlords list their properties with an extra perk.
Those who might be hesitant to take on a rental property can walk into the sale with a virtual maintenance manual.
Create a Virtual Dream Home
Some home buyers just know exactly what they want and others don't have a clue. Virtual reality can help people in both camps.
If a client is touring a home but wishes it had a few changes, slap on a VR headset and start dreaming. Some virtual reality platforms allow users to add or remove home elements. Potential buyers can use existing home tour images and tweak them to how their liking.
From the new 3D images, they can "walk" through the home to decide if they'd like to continue with the buying process or ditch the listing and start over. It can also help buyers factor in the cost of home changes into their final home offer.
If you have clients who want a new build but can't visualize floorplans, enlist virtual reality real estate help. Virtual reality can offer 3D tours and floor plans. Walking through several different floorplan options gives buyers a better idea of how functional each one will be.
Building a house is a big investment and you want to make sure your clients are happy with their decisions. It can be difficult to make such big decisions based on a 2D rendering of a floorplan. Physically visiting each model home can take additional time and resources.
Staging homes isn't always an easy task. Sometimes, homeowners just have too much stuff. Potential buyers might have a difficult time visualizing vacant spaces.
Enter virtual reality real estate staging. With the right tools and software, users can place virtual furniture and appliances in their homes. Real estate agents can tailor these images to buyers by placing items similar to theirs in the space in augmented reality.
Allowing buyers and sellers the freedom to stage their space virtually opens up more staging options. It's also much easier to move a virtual couch than a real one!
Need to boost curb appeal but not sure how? Use virtual reality to visualize outside home improvements. Most homeowners aren't excited about spending a lot of money to sell their homes. By visualizing which changes would make the most impact, they can maximize their investment.
Will painting the trim make a big enough impact? Maybe planting a few shrubs out front is all it needs. Or maybe new siding and a new driveway really would be worth the investment.
Looking at these decisions together with sellers may help them feel confident in making smart home improvement choices.
Virtual Real Estate Advantages
The COVID-19 pandemic changed how sellers and consumers used technology. The real estate industry can gain several advantages by using virtual reality real estate technology in home sales, renovations, and new builds.
Listings that offer user-friendly technology like 3D tours and interactive videos can gain more clicks and leads than those without. Home sellers who don't like the idea of in-person showings may find virtual options more attractive.
Not quite sure if augmented reality is a right fit for your real estate business? Give the experts at Hommati a call. At Hommati, we know how to leverage technology in your favor. From AR business cards to our Agent Advantage Program, we have the products and services to help you get ahead.