Virtual reality is making its way into more and more of our largest markets. In an article published by Bloomberg news recently, author James Tarmy discusses how a former Goldman Sachs partner, Jack Ryan, has turned to virtual reality to capture the essence of a $57 million mansion.
The Luxury Real Estate Market
When it comes to buying houses in a million dollar plus price range, the market is very restricted, and the buyers are typically part of a global force that populates some of the largest financial centers around the world. From London to Beijing, the super-rich are looking for homes but often can't take the time to fly around the world for a quick tour. Even if they could get away, the chances that there are multiple mansions in the same area for sale are very slim. Thus, the process of buying a mega mansion would entail flying from city to city to walk through each property one at a time, at a cost that just doesn't make sense to those who have earned their millions by exercising common sense and cautionary spending.
For much of its life, virtual reality has been featured at video game trade shows and other tech expos. However, VR is not just for gamers. Real estate companies have found that VR can be a useful marketing tool as well. Following in the footsteps of developers who sell high-value luxury properties, many brokers have built virtual walkthroughs with Round.me or other virtual tour web applications. These cutting-edge firms allow sellers to present buyers with a true to life walkthrough. In most cases, the house is mapped out precisely according to its dimensions and users of the VR headset are completely immersed in the environment of the rooms. As they pass through each room, they are given a commentary detailing the specifics of the home. This approach does a significantly better job of helping buyers fall in love with the space than looking at still photographs, which rarely do justice to the scale of these magnificent homes.
This technology is also being expanded to real estate which has yet to be developed. Developers are using the mapping technology to create a virtual rendering of their future projects, allowing investors and buyers to see what the finished product will look like before the first bit of dirt has been turned.
The Cost of Virtual Reality
Currently, prices for putting together a complete VR experience range from a few thousand dollars up to $100,000 for a full-scale development. Nevertheless, industry experts note that VR filming is getting easier with time and the technology is becoming more widely available, so they expect prices to drop in coming years. Ryan also notes that REX has taken it upon themselves to provide buyers with a Google Cardboard setup so that they can enjoy the virtual walkthrough without having to purchase a headset.
It will likely be a few years before this kind of technology makes its way down to the average homebuyer, but for now, it is providing a refreshing boost to the super-rich real estate market. Instead of flying around the world to visit a prospective home, buyers can sit back and enjoy floating through a detailed immersive tour from the comfort of their couch, and sellers can benefit from the simplicity of marketing their home without arranging the time for visitors and settling for less-than-optimal photographic representations.