For some years now, real estate agencies have been offering “virtual tours” of properties. You’ve probably seen those kiosks at your local shopping mall where you could sit down in front of a computer screen and “walk” through a vacation resort taking a virtual tour of vacation homes offered in some warm, lush paradise.
Fast forward to 2016 and today real virtual reality is here. The technology has advanced to the point where using a $99 Samsung Gear VR headset and $500 smartphone, or Oculus headset potential buyers can immerse themselves into a home anywhere in the world. They can walk through the property and see the ensuite master bathroom, how the children’s rooms connect to the master or even the texture of the granite countertops and glass tiles in the kitchen backsplash!
Paradigm Shift In Real Estate Sales
Virtual reality is in the beginning stages of completely disrupting the traditional real estate buying experience by offering buyers a revolutionary way to see properties that they may be interested in purchasing. Using VR prospective customers can immerse themselves into a particular piece of property from the comfort of their agent’s office and even see potential properties, even if they don’t yet exist!
Currently, VR is predominantly being used the luxury home and vacation homes markets. Though not common, the benefits are obvious. Many sellers of high-end properties like second or vacation homes are paying digital design companies thousands of dollars to prepare virtual renderings of properties from architectural plans and drawings. Details can be rendered down to the carpets, fixtures, tiles and countertops to give potential buyers a realistic, immerse glimpse into their potential new homes.
The resort of Kiawah Island, South Carolina and other high-end properties have embraced the technology as a sales tool. In fact, at Kiawah Island, buyers can even see the actual view from any window in the home during a virtual walkthrough, giving them a true feel of the property and helping them to understand what living there would be like. For sellers of existing homes, it allows buyers to tour properties from thousands of miles away. This can reduce stress when moving to a new city, for example, as buyers can find the perfect home before they even arrive.
For new construction, it’s allowed the sales cycle to shift as the selling cycle can precede the building cycle. Using VR, developers can pre-sell properties before they break ground. Buyers not only get a taste of their new home before it’s built, as the technology continues to mature they will be able to see the property with personal touches, for example, different colored walls, different floor finishes, counter tops, cabinets and even their furniture.
Virtual reality is not yet widely available, but as the price of entry comes down, more brokerage firms and agents will adopt the technology to showcase properties. For some, it will function as a way to quickly walk through dozens of properties in a fraction of the time instead of driving all over the city. Buyers can then pick the handful of likely prospects to visit in person. For others, it will function as a way to show the potential benefits to buyers who may not have the vision to see the possibilities on their own.
Virtual reality allows buyers to not only immerse themselves in the properties, much like a physical walk through, but it also allows them to form emotional tags that stay with them long after the presentation is over. Virtual reality is the future of real estate sales, and the future is now!
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