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How to Boost Real Estate Sales With Virtual Reality

By Paulo Tromp
January 09, 2017

Selling property has always suffered from a key challenge: in many cases the potential buyers can’t see the home or building they want to invest in. They may be overseas, too busy, or unable to travel, all of which restricts their viewing opportunity to a few photos or, in some cases, video.

The ability through virtual reality (VR) to take a proper tour around a property will increase interest and the number of available buyers—and boost sales. The idea is not new among real estate companies, but implementations have been experimental: niche for high-end properties or ultra-low-cost at best.

The rise in the number of ways that potential buyers can now view VR or 360-degree video footage makes it a more practical solution for estate agents, as well as a useful selling point for the mobile generation who rapidly adopts and becomes familiar with such technologies.

The ability to inspect the nooks and crannies of a property without a physical visit will help speed up some sales. VR will allow estate agents to better understand the buyer’s needs or, at the least, remove disinterested customers from the list, allowing sellers to focus on more likely prospects.

Realty Meets Reality

Naturally, it is the higher end of the market that has seen investment in VR property to boost sales first. Auctioneer Sotheby’s International Realty has long used professional video of high-specification, multi-million dollar homes around the world. As an extension of that effort, it is investing the cutting edge of VR-assisted property sales.

High-end properties in Hollywood and New York have been 3D-scanned, 360-degree filmed, and filmed from drones (ideal for high rise properties or those in sizable grounds), allowing for live tours by the estate agent to potential buyers anywhere in the world using a VR headset.

Watching where the buyer is looking, the agent can point out features of interest naturally, as if they were together in the home, via a phone call. If someone focuses on a particular aspect, say storage space, design features, or a fixture, the agent can take notes, ask questions, and get useful feedback to leverage for future presentations.

Naturally, in the world of technology, other companies are already looking to sell VR as a solution—and the massive real estate market is no different. LiveTour already offers a low-cost package of a smartphone-based VR camera app, software, and headset mount, but this will only produce low-end results that are unlikely to impress a discerning buyer. However, if it helps get the market moving, then the kit and the ideas it helps create can only lead to more professional results.

Benefits and New Options for the Real Estate Market

With the high- and low-end catered for, there remains a huge opportunity for the real estate industry to use VR for marketing. VR can help sell homes and attract new buyers to the market. Professional solutions can capture homes in high-definition and present them to potential buyers in stylish and artful walkthrough tours, or interactive exhibits for higher-end homes. Whereas most still photos and videos fail to capture the sense of space that many homes offer, VR provides a deeper experience of a property and enhances the feeling of being there.

Mixed reality offerings could include the use of Google Maps tours to set the location and highlight local amenities. The VR tour would highlight the value of the property, while a website would provide traditional information and contact points. VR footage can be sent direct to people’s smart phones, or new customers can try a VR experience at their local estate agents to view a range of properties virtually, before deciding which ones to visit.

The additional sensory stimulation offered by VR will be vital when it comes to selling off-plan properties that are still empty plots of land. Using real-time 3D rendering, buyers could explore their future home using a headset and understand in far better detail what it is they are buying into.

These voyages could show off all the potential features, from the views of a penthouse suite that are hard to imagine otherwise to all the fixtures and fittings that developers plan to install in each home. In custom builds, the buyers could also work with the builder or designer to plan layouts and decor to create their dream home in more detail than ever before.

For professional results, realtors will need to partner with VR specialists to access the most appropriate video capture and software technology solutions. VRMADA can provide a complete solution to produce attractive and captivating experiences that can help sell properties faster and improve market awareness.

Contact VRMADA today to find out how we can improve your business prospects.

About Paulo Tromp

Paulo Tromp is CEO and Creative Director of VRMADA, a virtual reality agency dedicated to creating beautiful, memorable experiences enabling brands to connect with their audiences in new and unique ways. Some of his clients include BMW, JCB, L'Oréal, MTV, Philip Morris International, Telefónica, Toyota, and Vodafone.