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The Surprising Applications of AR and VR in Real Estate

With the value of the housing market worth over $33.3 trillion, there’s an enormous opportunity and entrepreneurs are taking notice. New technologies, whether that’s property management software like Landlord Studio, or augmented and virtual realities, are all aiming to solve particular pain points of the experience that is buying, selling, or managing property.  

For example, thanks to immersive tech, potential buyers can, just by putting on a VR headset or by watching an AR representation on smartphones experience a property from the comfort of their sofa. Technology promises convenience, saves people time and money and helps them make the best, most informed decision to achieve their future goals.

What are AR and VR?

Augmented Reality (AR) is using technology to add to our current reality. One of the most publicly successful examples of this is Pokemon Go, which enables users to interact with Pokemon characters in the real world.

Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of technology to create a fully immersive reality that is separate from our reality. This is a common sci-fi trope (think The Matrix). The technology is rapidly advancing and whilst we certainly aren’t at Matrix level, in its current stage VR has effective gaming and real-world practical applications, including in the real estate marketplace.

Why is AR and VR important in real estate?

Much like drone technology, the real estate industry quickly adopted elements of this technology, utilizing 3D photography and video to create interactive walk-throughs of properties that can be experienced via a computer screen or VR headsets.

This allows potential buyers and investors to see inside a premise from their computer screens, gaining a sense of the building’s space, style and atmosphere without having to make a physical visit.

Virtual reality in Real Estate

Applications of AR and VR

Both AR and VR are currently being used throughout the real estate industry to help architects, builders, sellers and buyers cut costs and increase productivity. These applications are only getting more popular as the technology becomes better and more affordable. 

For example, a real estate investor can now view a property on the other side of the world, choose the interior decorations and furnishing, and make an informed decision on an investment property before it’s even built!

However, this technology isn’t just improving the buying experience for international real estate moguls. Increasing affordability is helping buyers (and real estate agents) at every level. 

If pictures help an online listing, can you imagine the power of 3D photography or an interactive online tour?

Virtual Tours

The first thing that crops into your mind when you read the words Virtual Reality is someone with a goofy headset on stumbling foolishly around a room as they interact with their virtual world. If you’ve ever tried a VR headset then you’ll know they can be quite persuasive in their iterations of reality.

When it comes to real estate there are several ways this tech can be applied.

  • Guided visits in many ways resemble a conventional promotional video. And they largely serve the same function. The difference though lies in the interactivity of the experience. Guided tours are easy to make, all you need is a panoramic camera to capture a 360-degree video. Next, they simply don that headset we mentioned earlier and look around freely.
  • Alternatively, you can create an interactive online experience. Allowing prospective buyers to get immersive experiences of multiple properties quickly and comfortably from the comfort of a chair. This way they can view any number of potential purchases fast, and make better, more informed choices of the property
  • You can also use this technology to show a property that isn’t fully built yet. The obvious advantage of this is that developers don’t have to wait for a building to be finished before they start marketing to interested parties. instead they can put together 3D rendered interactive tours.
  • Training VR is also helping to train staff on everything from site safety to difficult and specific plumbing problems, meaning virtual reality is helping the construction industry improve the safety, maintenance and time to market of new buildings.

Virtual Staging

More than 80% of realtors say that staging a property helps sell it faster, a statistic that shouldn’t surprise anyone. It helps people visualize what a space could look like when they move in. Virtual staging takes this to a whole new leave with two key benefits.

  1. It’s cheaper.
  2. It allows for personalization. 

It does this by allowing potential buyers to use software and technology to design the apartment themselves. For example, a buyer can select from online stores and change everything from paint colour to wall fittings and then view the property as they’ve furnished it, virtually.

The second way is to use augmented reality – often through a phone – to overlay reality with your personal decorative choices. For example, Dulux, the paint company, has an AR smartphone app called colourview that allows you to change the colour of your walls. Similar apps exist for furniture, such as Ikea Place, allowing customers to place items of furniture within their homes before deciding on the purchase. 

Architectural Visualization

Augmented reality in architecture

Marketing a property that isn’t constructed yet has always been a challenge for real estate developers and agents. You’ve probably seen large three-dimensional models that show a new property or neighborhood.

When it comes to interiors of these new constructions, real estate agents used to have to create large showrooms with full-scale models of the apartments. Needless to say, these marketing methods required considerable investment for space, furnishings, interior designers etc. 

Thanks to VR, architectural visualization has become much cheaper and a lot more immersive. Real estate agents can use VR technology to show both the exterior and interior of properties that aren’t built yet so that clients can get a clear look at what’s being offered.

On top of this, AR is even being used to visualize subterranean infrastructure, i.e., where pipes and cables are running underground.

Final Words

Above we’ve outlined some of the practical applications of AR and VR technology in the real estate market. Proptech is changing the way Real Estate investors interact with the market on every level, streamlining every part of it from the purchasing to the management of the properties.

And now the simplest forms of virtual home tours (360-degree videos and photos) are accessible to everyone. As for more immersive and sophisticated VR experiences? There are lots of companies – both emerging and established – that can help real estate agents create these experiences.

PropertyProperty ManagementProperty management softwareProptechReal Estate

Ben Luxon

"Ben is an author and real estate enthusiast. His interest in all things entrepreneurial has led him to work with real estate professionals all over the world, distilling their knowledge into articles and Ebooks. His love of travelling has taken him to over 10 countries in the last year, where he has sampled the craft beer of them all."

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