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 real estate agents have long taken advantage of imagery to boost interest in homes before open houses and one-on-one showings, the day of simple photographs gives way to slideshows and video walk-throughs.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected the real estate industry, and more real estate agents and brokers turned to virtual reality. With the latest technology available, showings no longer need in-person tours or the perfect open-house presentations. People can just contact their real estate agents through Zoom, request a virtual tour of the home they are interested in, and see it from the comfort of their sofa. By adhering to social distancing guidelines, the real estate industry figured out how to sell a house during a pandemic by using this technology as it doesn’t only make house showings safer, even after the COVID pandemic, but also lead the industry towards the future.
Even if we take the pandemic out of the equation, we are accustomed to ordering everything online, so why shouldn’t we visit potential homes online as well? While sellers are less likely to welcome countless people into their homes and buyers don’t want to visit numerous homes before they settle on the one they want, this new way of showing properties makes everyone happy. Not only is it safer, for many reasons, it’s also more accessible. You’ll no longer need to drive to each house; you’ll only go and visit the one that sparked your interest. For realtors, hosting open houses can generate leads, but the number of people that are safe to attend an open house might still be limited, so virtual tours are the next best thing.
What is a Virtual Cyber Tour?
A virtual tour allows the viewer to experience a location remotely through videos and still image simulations. For a more in-depth experience, VR can use other multimedia elements like sound effects, music, floor plans, exposure, etc. An excellent virtual tour includes various types of data to project images at different scales and angles; it should be customizable for a better viewing experience through virtual home staging.
During the worst period of the COVID-19 pandemic, many museums or tourist attractions offered VR tours as lockdowns prevented people from experiencing them in the flesh. Virtual cyber tours have been used in the real estate industry for around 30 years, but the current global situation was a catalyst for many agents and brokers to implement them. This may lead to a future where in-person tours will only occur once the buyer sees all the listings he was interested in and visits the home they chose in person before closing. One thing that virtual reality can not offer is the feeling of a home. This is why in-person visits are unlikely to disappear anytime soon. However, there are instances when real estate deals are closed by the use of virtual technology.
How does it work?
The latest innovation involves the Samsung Gear VR goggles, which allow realtors to program 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 and are not yet built. Almost like you’re getting a glimpse of the future.
As viewed through the medium of devices like the Samsung Gear VR and the similar (though pricier) Oculus Rift, virtual reality can take viewers into the picture. One director of sales says the goggles turn a dream into reality for prospective buyers. Instead of looking at 2-dimensional or even 3-dimensional images, the prospective buyer is instantly immersed in the apartment, condo, villa, or townhome.
Someone can load a situational experience into the Samsung Gear VR goggles, which can then be paired with a Samsung S6 Edge smartphone and given to any prospective buyer – even shipped to them in a remote 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 aren’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, which could be negligible if it boosts pre-sales the way current users see happen. The sample units in each building or development can be loaded up, then replicated across multiple sets of hardware, making the sales process quicker and more effective. It’s the future of the industry.
Benefits of Virtual Cyber Tours
Many people benefit from virtual tours in the real estate industry alone. From property managers to real estate agents and clients, virtual tours provide increased accessibility to the industry. The online world creates vast opportunities for everyone involved and connects buyers to sellers virtually, with all the information they require available one click away. With virtual reality, anyone can access anything regardless of where they are and where the property they are interested in is located. Based on our research, the most impressive benefits of virtual cyber tours are the following:
Unlike photographs that have been the go-to visual element used in real estate transactions, virtual tours are more interactive as the buyer can navigate the property. While a photo shows the buyer a room from a certain angle, virtual reality allows them to investigate each property corner. Especially for pre-sale homes that are sold before they are even built, VR gives buyers a broader and more accurate depiction of the house they purchase. It allows them to navigate it and change aspects of it based on their preferences.
Since virtual tours were introduced, listings that include them receive 87% more views than those that don’t. These tools attract more clients, allowing them to explore the property through an interactive and user-friendly interface.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate industry faced severe challenges when social distancing requirements were implemented. Without virtual tours, the whole industry could have collapsed, but due to its implementation, it thrived. Real estate agents and property managers became more productive by cutting back on time spent driving from one location to the other to meet with clients and show them properties. They had the time to focus more on different aspects of their job or their personal life. The same goes for clients as in many ways the relationship between agent and client was affected by the pandemic.
Aside from the interactive nature of VRs, they give the viewer the feeling that they are inside the property, walking around, seeing each facet of the rooms wherever they are. Because these tours do not require the viewer’s physical presence, they open the real estate market of any area to the world because the internet allows anyone to access listings either from listing services or by working with real estate agents. Like this, the real estate market can reach local and international clients alike.
Virtual tours aren’t limited to the visual aspect of a property. Good real estate agents can provide clients with a more comprehensive experience by integrating additional features. For example, adding text to the tour can offer more information about the property’s structure or building code limitations. If the unit for sale is inside a historic building, they can give a brief history of the place. The virtual tour can include anything that the viewer might be interested in learning about the property. While they see each room, they can also access advice, suggestions, or tips to increase the experience.
The more we step into the future, the more these topics will become part of the norm. Every aspect of our lives will slowly but surely assimilate technology, and the real estate industry just gives another example of this happening. In 2021 we are no longer required to drive this way and that to show properties or see them as VR technology transformed the real estate showings for good. Once the option becomes available and demonstrates its capabilities, chances are it will become the norm. One thing will remain the same, however, and that is in-person viewing before closing. The need to step inside the property, feel the atmosphere, and breathe the air will never disappear, but at least buyers won’t have to visit 30 properties before deciding which one to buy.
Let us know what you think about the real estate industry’s direction with the help of VR technology in the comment section below. While things are changing fast, changes predominantly improve the human experience, simplify it and make it more accessible. Like & Share this article with anyone that might be interested in using VR technology for their real estate endeavors or with friends and family who are curious about this new option for online listings.
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