Augmented and virtual reality have become sought-after technologies in many fields, with real estate being no exception. As social distancing continues, these technologies will become particularly useful, by limiting the need to have close contact with others.
Realtors are constantly looking for new ways to show properties to their clients, beyond photographs and floorplans. Video tours are a popular way to do this, as they allow visitors to better understand the general layout and size of specific rooms. However, video tours still have some limitations, particularly concerning the style and furniture layout of properties. Customers often experience difficulty imagining themselves living in a space, which is where augmented & virtual reality shine! In this article we will explore the ways that these technologies can help realtors immerse their clients in homes, and the ROI that accompanies this.
Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality
Before we dive into specifics, it is important to understand the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality. Virtual reality most often involves a 3D headset, such as the Oculus Quest. These headsets allow viewers to be fully immersed in a scene, and involves a total dissociation with the outside world. Augmented reality on the other hand places virtual objects onto the physical world and is commonly viewed with a smartphone. There are also headsets available for viewing augmented reality, such as the Microsoft Hololens, Magic Leap, and Nreal. Mobile applications such as Pokémon Go, Google Maps, and Snapchat have all made augmented reality a major part of their platforms and popularized the technology. In real estate, virtual reality can allow buyers to be fully immersed in a tour of a property that they are interested in. Augmented reality can aid buyers in envisioning property exteriors, as well as decorating and planning changes to interiors. Both of these disruptive technologies are powerful assets to real estate agents and buyers.
Furniture, Style, & Design
IKEA was one of the first companies to create a popular augmented reality mobile app for displaying furniture. This home design app allows users to superimpose their desired furniture into a room before deciding whether to purchase it. Light and shadows are used in order to make the furniture models look more realistic in the environment they are inserted into. Other apps have tried to do something similar by allowing the user to insert 2D images, but IKEA took it a step further because they believed it was still too hard for homeowners to imagine the furniture with just a 2D image. This type of app can also be used to display the user’s existing furniture in a home that they are considering buying.
Nearly all realtors have experienced trying to sell a house with sub-par interior design, and have tried many strategies to help their buyers see past these superficial details with various staging techniques. However, it can be very hard for buyers to look past ugly wallpaper or unappealing colors when viewing a home. With augmented reality, they can remove these undesirable things by superimposing their selected colors or wallpaper onto the walls instead. They can also “hang” artwork and other decorative items on the walls to make it feel more like their home.
View exteriors in 3D
It can be really difficult to envision the exact style, dimensions, and layout of a house without being able to see it in person. Images taken from different sides of a house can be helpful, but with augmented reality or virtual reality, homebuyers can view actual 3D models of the houses that they are considering. They can also view floor plans in 3D and even alter these to see what potential construction would look like.
How does this change real estate?
Reduce in-person showings
Every realtor has experienced the buyer that requests seemingly endless showings, and will sometimes take years to find a property that they fall in love with. With augmented reality, buyers can take it upon themselves to immerse themselves in new homes, and make better informed decisions about which properties deserve a second look in-person. This will increase the rate of return on showings that realtors perform, because the buyers already have a vested interest in each property they choose to see.
Show more properties in less time
Augmented reality and virtual reality give realtors the ability to take on more clients, as they are not obliged to be physically present at each property. Clients will be able to meet with their realtor at a common place or view the properties from the comfort of their own home. This way they can be shown multiple properties before deciding which ones to take a closer look at in person. The reduction of travel time from location to location can add hours to one realtor’s day, especially if their clientele is spread throughout the state or country.
Enable international showings and cross-country showings
Realtors can show houses to buyers who are out of state or in different countries by utilizing augmented reality and virtual reality. This reduces travel costs and time spent for everyone involved. Buyers can greatly limit the amount of in-person showings that they require, by only viewing properties that they pre-select through virtual tours. Alternatively they can make an offer based on the virtual tour and eliminate in-person showings altogether.
Stay ahead of competition
Augmented reality and virtual reality will soon be prevalent in all industries. With social distancing becoming common practice across the world, there is more and more need for these immersive technologies. It is important to implement the best new ways to deal with our evolving world, and you can get ahead of your competition by integrating the latest technologies today. Your clients will be happy to save time by viewing properties in a fast and safe way, and you’ll stay ahead of the game as one of the companies offering this unique opportunity!
Engage clients and allow them to customize their visits
You can let your clients visualize their dream life in their dream home in a customized and engaging way. Select furniture layouts that fit your client’s style, to allow them to imagine their life in their new home or office. Add interactions into their visit that make them feel at home and like they are already living out their day-to-day lives in this new location.
Check out this #MadeInMinsar experience to find out how you can start using AR/VR in Real-Estate today!
Minsar is a no-code AR/VR platform that allows creators to build 3D environments and easily share them with their clients with a click of a button.
Learn about augmented reality in retail here.