Introduction to Virtual Reality in PropTech

Many people associate Virtual Reality (VR) with the video game and entertainment industry. VR technology, however, has huge potential in the property industry. In an industry that's slow to adopt new technology, VR is a giant leap forward.

Application of Virtual Reality in PropTech

An overview of the application of virtual reality in Proptech industry is supposed to contribute to a better understanding of how the new technologies are influencing the Property industry!

Virtual Property Showcases

Typically, potential property-buyers visit multiple properties before deciding on which to purchase. This process requires a lot of time and becomes complicated if a property is far from where the buyer lives. VR technology helps solve these problems, allowing millions of people to virtually visit properties without leaving their homes.

Certain attributes of a space, like the depth of a room or the layout of an apartment, can be hard to convey through still images. A VR headset enables an immersive, three-dimensional walkthrough. VR provides a dynamic tour experience where true-to-life renderings or panoramic photographs are woven into a cohesive floor plan.

Guided Visits

Virtual guided visits resemble conventional promotional videos, and can take the form of either:

  • fully virtual immersive experiences; or
  • 360-degree videos.
Guided visits are perfect for existing properties as they're rather simple to make – you just need a panoramic camera to capture 360-degree video. For 360-degree videos, no programming or sophisticated rendering is needed.

Architectural Visualisation

Selling a property before it's built is difficult. By providing customers with a tool to fully view and experience a given property, realtors can boost customer confidence in the what the property can be and make the sale.

Marketing a property that isn't constructed yet has always been a challenge for real estate developers and agents. Properties still in the construction phase benefit greatly from virtual guided tours, as real estate agents are able to show unfinished projects. Virtual reality allows potential property buyers to carefully check out both the exterior and interior of yet-to-be-built properties. Thanks to VR, architectural visualisation 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.

Realtors can either pre-stage a virtual rendering of a home or apartment, or you can do it yourself by taking photos and using apps to overlay furniture.

Interactive Virtual Visits

Interactive virtual visits let users choose where to move within a property by clicking on special hotspots in the field of view. Visiting interactive virtual room is more complicated, but they're more user-friendly than guided 3D virtual tours so you can more efficiently show properties. Users can explore high-quality 3D renderings of the kitchen and bedrooms for example.

Open house visits are a fun way to explore a property, but when you go for a visit, you have to imagine what it might look like with your own furniture, setup and style. You may know the space is a great fit for your needs, but the current owner's furniture, staged furniture or empty rooms might not be conducive to really understanding what the home would look like if you moved in. Thanks to new developments in real estate tech, the days of imagining may soon be behind us. Now technology is looking to fill this imagination gap through the use of virtual and augmented reality, giving buyers and sellers a new way to experience properties. If a potential property buyer is taking a 3D real estate tour but wants to make changes to the interior, they could go to an online store, choose a different piece of furniture, and add it to their three-dimensional tour. By making these changes, they can style a property according to their preferences.

Virtual Staging

According to a Profile of Home Staging report by the National Association of Realtors, 77% of real estate agents say staging helps buyers associate a property with their future home. Though staging is a great way to market properties, it requires investment, particularly if you're selling newly built properties. Virtual reality technology is a great way for realtors to market staged properties with very little investment. VR allows you to create stunning 3D real estate tours and get properties staged so that your clients can check them out.

VR Hotspots

VR Hotspots are a very interesting way to augment virtual reality. Hotspots allow for more interactivity and improve the VR experience. Overlays via hotspots can offer additional details on a tour or give a close up of an area of interest. Properties with special features, close to nearby attractions or have historical or architectural significance may greatly benefit from Hotspot technology.

Agents and property owners that add Hotspots to VR look to take the 360 experience to the next level and get users to engage with that virtual world. Interactive hotspots are one way to create a "sticky" user experience for potential buyers.

Fix and flips and renovation projects

One of the biggest game-changers for real estate investors is the use of VR for fix and flips and renovation projects. Real estate investors are painfully aware of the challenges associated with visualising an end product and then communicating that with your contractor and renovation team. Investors involved in rehab projects can leverage VR to instruct their renovation contractors on exactly what project should look like at various stages.

By using VR to superimpose improvements (new furniture, paint, decor, etc.), investors can get a better idea of what proposed renovations will look like, and ultimately cost. And, as many real estate investors work in joint venture partnerships, VR is a great way to show other investors the progress of a renovation project.

Virtual Instructions for Tenants

3D real estate tours help tenants understand how utility services at a property work so they can avoid difficulties and unnecessary contact with landlords. This application of VR technology is particularly useful for the vacation rentals industry due to the high turnover rates. Virtual instructions for tenants improve the customer experience and bring benefits to both guests and landlords.

VR can help facilitate better communication by showing visitors exactly how to do or find something in a vacation rental, or even where to go in your neighbourhood and city. Because of the high turnover rate in vacation rentals, effective communication is even more critical than traditional long-term rental situations.

Advertising rentals

Finding the right tenant, at the right time, is the linchpin of any successful real estate investing business. Creating a seamless tour of a property will not only draw high-quality tenants but will help to fill properties quicker and reduce vacancy. VR tours are a huge time-saver for landlords and potential tenants, especially when the would-be tenant lives across the country or abroad. Most investment property managers are more than happy to dispense with traditional in-person tours. They are already juggling many tasks, and there's nothing more disappointing than giving up an hour or two to show a unit, only to have a no-show.

VR technology saves time for landlords, property managers, and real estate agents who want to show the property to serious renters

Virtual Commerce

Virtual Reality and eCommerce go hand in hand. They are both essentially real-world experiences that have been digitally replicated. The virtual commerce handles critical wholesale and retail business requirements from commerce applications to supply chain logistics.

The property industry is excited about the potential for virtual commerce. Currently, there are staging applications that are used to populate virtual spaces with furniture. But these applications may soon become furniture stores where you can choose custom pieces for your new home. Buyers can also look forward to choosing upgrades, like granite counters or hardwood floors, within a virtual tour before they break ground on their new home.
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