92% of home buyers today use the internet to search for a home, pointing to the idea that buying a home is more digitalized than ever.
With the introduction of virtual reality into the real estate industry, the home buying and selling processes have completely transformed. Buyers can now tour numerous properties in a day all without leaving their agent’s office.
Immersive experiences await those who adopt virtual home tours as a part of their real estate practices. However, the benefits don’t stop there. Keep reading to find out how VR is transforming the industry and how you can take advantage of those changes.
The Introduction of Virtual Reality in the Real Estate Industry
Google was one of the first companies to introduce interactive elements into the real estate industry. You’ve always been able to “virtually tour” homes by viewing photos online or even by viewing one of those classic home tour videos.
The emergence of Google street view allowed potential buyers and clients to tour a street simply by moving the cursor on their computer screen. That’s not quite virtual reality, we know. However, innovative companies have taken that technology a step further.
In 2019, it’s possible to create digital 3D models that allow for virtual reality experiences. They use floorplans and ultra-high definition photography to help potential house buyers tour homes. This allows people to view properties in the true-to-life definition.
The best part? Real estate agents can now show up to 50 properties in the time that it takes to visit and walk through one. This technology is proving to be a win-win for all parties involved, and it’s only just getting started.
The Age of Virtual House Hunting
3D house tours have caused such a revolution in the real estate industry that all people are talking about is the dawn of the age of “virtual house hunting.”
All this requires is a computer or smartphone and internet connection. Oftentimes, innovative real estate companies will put virtual house tours online.
One real estate company in the UK, Forty/8, recently began using VR to digitally sell homes and has been able to double their showings.
A representative from the company noted that “VR headsets enable viewers to step inside the apartment and sense how it will look and feel. It gives them a better understanding of what’s on offer.”
For a buyer, this is invaluable. This particularly applies to out-of-state or even international buyers who might not be able to travel to every single property on their list.
This interactive element is the first of its kind in real estate, and it’s providing real estate professionals with a unique way to market and sell their properties.
Immersive Property Visits
As mentioned, the rise of VR in real estate allows property visits to become extremely more immersive.
Potential buyers can place themselves into a 360-degree world to look at every detail and make a side-by-side comparison to other others.
A client can, for example, load a virtual tour of a home on a VR headset. They can tour one home and then load a tour of another home immediately after.
This allows them to more effectively compare the pros and cons of each home against each other.
And, they can do this all without ever even getting in their car and driving to the property and without worrying about whether or not there’s another tour scheduled in ten minutes.
If they forgot to check out the tile in the guest bathroom, all they have to do is go back and take a virtual look. This provides buyers with a more streamlined buying process and allows them to make more effective decisions.
It’s worth mentioning here that, the more immersive these visits become due to technology, the more personalized they can be as well.
Staging companies will no longer have to worry about staging to fit buyer tastes. And, agents will be able to personalize a tour to fit the buyer’s taste.
Real Estate Marketing Made Easy
We’ve touched on the idea that VR makes selling homes easier from an agent’s standpoint. However, marketing properties is also easier with this type of technology. Why?
Well, selling a home that isn’t even built yet is pretty tough to do. Selling an idea of what something might look like when it’s complete is one of the challenges that real estate companies face during the construction phase.
Now, instead of bringing a buyer to a home that looks like a complete mess, companies can present a complete walkthrough of the complete home with a VR headset on.
As long as the building space is complete (and maybe even if it’s not), the person can walk around with the headset on and view exactly what their dream home will look like once it’s finished.
If they haven’t gotten that far in the marketing process yet, companies can still use it to craft creative ads using the technology.
This goes for virtual markups of the space itself, too! Companies can use VR to craft higher-quality real estate photos and videos. Advances in VR mean advances in other technological capabilities as well.
All of this makes real estate marketing easier.
Virtual Building Tools
Real estate technology isn’t only about virtual tours used for buying a home. You can also use this technology to create virtual house plans.
If you’re building a home or are part of a large development process, then focusing your design efforts from the get-go can help save a lot of wasted time and money.
By using innovative technology that allows you to quickly and easily measure spaces and objects, you can essentially create an exact replica of a house.
This means that you don’t have to waste money on the wrong paint color or design layout.
Virtual reality, in this case, allows people to walk through a house whether it’s already built or is in the construction phase. They can mark corners and input those measurements into an application to create a VR floorplan to work with.
Using this virtual model, designers or homeowners can see how the house or room looks by adding doors, windows, colors, and even furniture.
This cuts down on costly design mistakes and even renovations both during and after the building process.
If you’re trying to sell a home, this can also help you impress a client by showing them what their furniture will look like in the space.
Communicating with Virtual Reality
Again, real estate isn’t all about buying and selling. A large portion of the real estate industry are homeowners who are renting out their homes on Airbnb or other platforms.
What these owners are seeing is that they can use VR in an innovative way to communicate with their visitors.
Imagine a situation in which a new guest arrives at a host’s home in California. They have no idea where the amenities are, how the shower works, or even how to turn on the TV. They try to call their host but they’re at work and can’t answer.
By using a pre-recorded walkthrough video, a host can have a virtual reality experience queued up and ready to go for when the guest arrives. The guest can view the walkthrough video on their smartphone and figure out where everything is.
This might even be a cool way to use the technology for when you have family visiting at your own house! The point, however, is that virtual reality can break down communication barriers and facilitate a better living experience.
The more a homeowner can enjoy their living experience and share it with others, the more they’re able to profit off their home. Again, it’s a win-win for everybody involved.
The Future of Virtual Home Tours
Where are virtual home tours headed? Great question!
Experts note that if virtual reality in real estate were a three-act play, we’d just be finishing the first act. This means that there’s still a lot more to come in terms of advancements and ingenuity.
You can expect to see more detailed home tours in the future. For example, when a potential buyer is walking through the space, they’ll be able to click on an amenity and learn more about its function.
You can also expect all of this to affect the staging industry and the buying process in general.
As VR, AR, and even artificial intelligence continue to work together to streamline processes and personalize buying experiences, the home-buying process will get easier and much shorter.
One thing’s for sure, though. Virtual reality will continue to transform the real estate industry and change the way we interact with our homes.
Whether you’re looking to buy or sell, you can benefit from learning more about this technology. To familiarize yourself with these types of home tours, check out our 3D home tour page.