Real estate is an industry that normally moves with the times and adopts technology that can assist in its continued success. However, there seems to be a slight lack of faith in a new technology that presents itself to the industry: virtual reality. This could potentially be a grave mistake by some, and quite the advantage for those who rapidly adopt the technology this year.
Consider the top two hurdles of the average real estate agent:
- Agents have to manage the time it takes to go from one visit to the other, dealing with traffic among other elements out of their control.
- The most commonly heard phrase in real estate is, “It doesn’t look like the pictures.”
Virtual reality can help immediately resolve both of these issues. It offers the possibility to virtually visit a lot more homes in a lot less time. This will naturally increase sales efficiency, as well as allow the ability to see more potential buyers.
Here are three different options you can explore using virtual reality to heighten real estate experiences:
1. Guided Virtual Visits. This is essentially just like a promotional video, except that it is produced and shot in 360 degrees. This method works wonders for existing properties. For properties still in construction, VR will be a groundbreaking tool for real estate agents, as they will be able to show unfinished projects like never before. We produced a virtual visit of a major tower in downtown Montréal but wanted to give it a storytelling touch, so we mixed different types of mediums within the virtual experience, using 360-degree photography, video footage and 3D renderings. The photography was used at the beginning of the experience to set the tone, with inserts like picture-in-picture and stop-motion graphics. The 3D renderings were used to showcase portions of the yet unfinished project. We produced high-quality 3D renderings in the kitchen and bedroom scenes to give the viewer a better idea of what their future home could look like once completed and furnished. The 360-degree video footage was used throughout to provide an emotional response, which is all about the narration.
2. Interactive Virtual Visits. To take virtual visits to the next level, the experience can be made interactive through movement determined by the user. It is simply the experience of a lifetime for your prospective buyer. Considering that most of the population has heard, but yet to actually try out VR, the effect will be mindblowing. This experience needs to be “housed” (pun intended) in a mobile app. Because this experience is interactive, it’s a lot more like a game than a video.
The interactive experience is created with hotspots that appear in your field of vision when you turn your attention from one direction to another. By keeping your sight on the hotspot, you are transported to where the hotspot is located, allowing you to do a virtual walk-through of the property at your own pace.
3. Virtual Commerce. Take the interactive virtual visit described above and add the ability to make custom changes to the home, just like e-commerce except this is now virtual commerce. The real estate industry should be the first to jump at the chance to adopt this: The interactive virtual visits, because of their technological requirements, need to be housed in an app.
Using virtual reality does not have to be synonymous with heavy-duty computers and complicated materials like motion sensors. Do not let the technology overtake the most important part of this endeavor: the prospective buyer’s experience.
The technology has made leaps and bounds in the past year, and we believe the future of VR is mobile, through apps. The great news about this is that real estate agencies that already have mobile apps can very easily incorporate a VR section via API.
VR is an exciting new technology that allows the real estate industry the ability to tell a story like never before, as it is a technology that doesn’t require breaking the bank and can be easily integrated into the existing platforms -- all while increasing sales efficiency and without having to hire more staff.
Virtual reality technology is finally ready; the ball is now in the real estate industry’s court.