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March 30, 2016 • Real Estate News

Virtual Cyber Tours: The New Way to Show Properties

Virtual reality has entered the real estate world, making it easier than ever for real estate agents to pre-sell properties in highly competitive locations. While agents have long taken advantage of imagery to boost interest in homes before open houses and one on one showing, the day of simply photographs is giving way to slideshows and video walk-throughs.

The latest in innovation involves the Samsung Gear VR goggles, which allow realtors to program in the projected look and feel of pre-construction or in-construction properties. This allows the prospective buyers a sneak peek at the property in question – even if they live halfway across the world.

One director of sales says the goggles turn a dream into reality for prospective buyers. Virtual reality, as viewed through the medium of devices like the Samsung Gear VR and the similar (though pricier) Oculus Rift, can take viewers into the picture. Instead of looking at 2 dimensional or even 3 dimensional images, the prospective buyer is instantly immersed in the apartment, condo, villa, or townhome.

A situational experience can be loaded into the Samsung Gear VR goggles, which can then be paired with a Samsung S6 Edge smartphone and offered to any prospective buyer – even shipped to them in a faraway location. When the goggles are worn, the viewer is transported into the environment, which can be detailed enough to evoke sunlight shimmering through sheer curtains, the gleam of marble floors, and the shine of mahogany chair rails.

It’s the emotional connection people get from this sort of introduction that helps close deals. The viewer can wander through the home on offer, enjoying the feel of the space and thinking about décor possibilities. When accompanied by a spec sheet or blueprint, a decision can be made without the buyer ever having to travel to the actual location – and pre-selling becomes easier than ever when combined with such a detailed look at the space under construction.

The software and production isn’t cheap – one of the major players who founded the premier architectural visualization firm says it starts at around $40,000 – but he adds that you get what you pay for – a cheap car is a cheap car, while a six figure car is more detailed and outfitted with plenty of extra options.

The more intricate the imaging becomes, the higher the price tag – but balanced against the selling point of units in a large construction project, that could be negligible if it boosts pre-sales the way current users are seeing happen. The sample units in each building or development can be loaded up, then replicated across multiples sets of hardware, making the sales process quicker and more effective. It’s definitely the future of the industry.

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