Disrupting a traditional industry: VR and AR applications in Real Estate

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When it comes to making a name in real estate, and getting into the industry in a way that creates a long-term career, there is a lot for agents to learn. One of the things many agents are finding today is that they have to keep up with technology or they will be left behind their peers. But technology is always changing, and a big part of the focus is how to make the online real estate shopping experience better for potential buyers. Both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality use in real estate are gaining momentum.


What Virtual Reality offers in online real estate listings


Virtual Reality ( VR ) offers a computer-generated environment that is three-dimensional. People looking into that environment can explore and interact with it in a number of ways. In a sense, it’s like taking a tour of the house the buyer is interested in, except they do not have to leave their current house to do it. That way they can look through all the houses they want to see before they ever contact an agent. That saves them time and stress.

When an agent has more time to work with buyers who have already found what they want, it is easier for that agent to be more effective and engaged with both buyers and sellers. It can also seem more “real” for buyers who are looking online to find a new home, as pictures can sometimes be deceiving. Taking a virtual tour, for example, can give buyers insight into where in the house a room is located, how big the windows are in relation to the size of the room, and other considerations they may not be as able to judge or see from still photographs.


Virtual Reality and Augmented reality use in Real Estate 


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In addition to Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality use in real estate helps professionals attract more buyers, as well as allowing them options to use in order to help buyers and sellers more effectively. Using this type of tool lets buyers do some amazing things, such as see how their current furniture will look in their potential new home, which can help make the whole process easier. While real estate professionals may think of VR and AR as very different things, they are really the same basic type of technology. The main difference is in how they are used. 

When a real estate agent dedicates themselves to working with VR and AR (which are called Mixed Reality – or MR – when used together), they have more time and can help buyers much more efficiently. Buyers also have a better experience, because they narrow their choices before they ever contact an agent. Then they can narrow those choices even more once the agent offers them an additionally advanced look at some of the properties the buyer is considering. It is an excellent way to keep buyers engaged, and help agents be more effective. But it is definitely changing the way real estate works in a more technological society.

As more and more real estate agents start adding VR and AR options to their listings, agents who are not doing those things could get left behind. It is important for agents to embrace the technology being offered, so they have the best chance of providing a quality experience for both buyers and sellers. That helps build their career and makes them a more effective agent when it comes to meeting the needs of all their clients.


VR/AR in action


The adoption and Virtual reality, Augmented reality use in real estate has been on the slow side due to the resources it demands from budget-conscious real estate agents. And yet, there are plenty of startups in the industry who are working diligently to drive down the costs of their technology while stepping up the quality of the overall experience. The headliners are those working with multi-million dollar construction projects, but there’s a lot going on behind the scenes too. Companies like MyPad3D and MatterPort are two stand-outs in the residential real estate who have already started to deliver concrete benefits to the real estate industry.

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MyPad3D is a company dedicated to giving people a truly 3D experience when it comes to their new home. Imagine how a client will feel when they ‘fly’ around the roof of their short list of homes, so they can see the building from every angle before taking an official tour. This type of immersion is at the core of VR/AR companies who are poised to start making some major splashes for home buyers everywhere. These companies can provide solutions in as little as three days and for less money than they might think. Matterport is a similar company that helps a client feel as though they’re really in the home. Their software allows them to zoom in on different aspects of the design so they don’t miss a single nook or cranny.


VR/AR for everyone


Companies like MyPad3D and Matterport are trying to improve their services to everyone who has a need for them. So if an agent is dealing with a new construction home, their clients have the opportunity to inspect the many details of the home as it’s being put together. They may not be able to spot a small structure defect, but they don’t need an architecture degree to notice that the bathroom only has one sink when the client requested two. This kind of additional insight can eliminate costly mistakes that can delay a home for months. For real estate agents who work with rental properties, Matterport allows clients to engage in their search for the next perfect property by providing them with the many details they need to make a final decision.

While it’s true that VR/AR has had more popularity in large-scale industrial or commercial enterprises, startups are finding more ways to scale their technology to structures of all sizes. When PwC’s forecasts that the construction industry will be worth $15.5 trillion dollars worldwide by 2030, it’s worth it for real estate agents to understand and capitalize upon the mechanisms that will help drive this growth. This new technology is a way of speeding up the rate of construction, but it’s also a way of reducing how long properties sit on the market. The faster homes can be built, bought, and sold, the more money everyone makes and the less overall waste the real estate industry will see.

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How to choose what options to consider


Even for a veteran real estate agent, deciding which options to incorporate when it comes to VR and AR can be complicated. The technology is not free, so there is a cost to adding these kinds of things to a listing. But that can also be a small price to pay when it comes to getting more buyers, having more time, and building a strong career and reputation as a real estate agent. It is a good way to get more people interested in looking for a house, too, when they can go online and feel like they are taking a tour of the inside of the home they are interested in. Ruling a home in or out can be done much more efficiently that way.


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