Virtual and Augmented Reality in Real Estate: Understanding How to Make Them Work for You

25 Oct, 2018

Being in the real estate industry is a lucrative business. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry is projected to grow a full six percent from 2016-2026. That statistic is roughly the same whether you’re in the Maryland real estate market, Florida real estate market, or any other place in the US. However, the industry is fiercely competitive as well. That means if you are a real estate agent or broker, you must use all of the resources available to beat out the competition. Advances in real estate technology make selling or renting homes much easier than it was a decade ago. Whether you use sophisticated financial checks or offer a quick and easy online application process, these tools work to make the process simpler for clients. One such tool that is gaining traction in the real estate business is that of virtual reality. 

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Let's take a closer look at how virtual reality and augmented reality technology are a benefit in the real estate industry.

What is virtual reality?

Virtual reality is a "term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions." In simple terms that means virtual reality simulates what the real environment looks like in a three-dimensional manner. For example, if you've ever used Google Maps and clicked on the icon that transports you to the "street view," then you have an idea what virtual reality mode is like. 

What are the benefits of virtual reality in real estate?

It doesn't take much imagination to realize how virtual reality can benefit the real estate industry. Here are a few of the benefits:

Gives customers more freedom

By allowing the customer to view homes at their leisure, they have more freedom to work around their schedule. This frees up the agent’s schedule, as well. A customer can view a house in the middle of the night, early in the morning, or on a holiday. All that's needed is a computer or mobile phone. They can simply open up the computer and walk through the home in virtual reality mode and get a realistic view of what it would look like if they were actually there.

Get a closer look

Sometimes when a customer goes to see a house, they don't really see everything they want. Maybe they are busy talking to their spouse or the agent or they just don't spend the time they needed. Once they get back home, they may have forgotten a few of the details of the home. With virtual reality, they can open up the home they were viewing and take a second look at it. Now as they "walk through" it, they can slow down and zoom in on details they didn't get a chance to see as well before. Furthermore, they can look from odd angles that aren't even physically possible when doing a regular walk through. They can do an aerial view of a room if so desired. The good news for you, as an agent or broker, is that when people have more options, they will be more likely to purchase.

Saves people time

Being able to view homes for sale in virtual reality helps customers save time by allowing them to do their house shopping from the convenience of their own home. They don't have to drive all the way to the location if they don't want to. Instead, they can view the home in great detail in virtual reality. This saves the agent time, as well, because they won't have to go to meet them. Then after the person views it, they will have a better idea if they are interested in it.

Helps eliminate places from the list

With people having such busy schedules, it's helpful to be able to eliminate those homes that you know you don't want, or highlight those that need a second look. Virtual reality makes this possible by allowing potential customers to walk through and determine if a follow-up appointment is necessary. There's no use for a customer to take your time and theirs if they can determine from the virtual reality tour that the place isn't what they wanted.

What is augmented reality?

This definition is from WhatIs.com. "Augmented reality is the integration of digital information with the user's environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it." So, how does that work in the real estate industry? It would allow people who are thinking of purchasing a home to be able to add elements to the virtual reality model of the home such as furniture, wallpaper, paint colors, and so on. This gives them a more realistic look at how the home will look when they have their items in it.

What else can you do with virtual reality technology?

If a home is in the building process, virtual reality technology allows users to experience how the home will look once it's finished. Homes being modified, renovated, or under construction can still have projected virtual reality models for customers to walk through. This helps the agent to sell homes before they are completed.

All the technological changes in the business world mean industries like real estate can do their work more efficiently. Virtual reality is just one of many changes that help agents complete their work with ease. Keep up-to-date on the advances in real estate technology and be ahead of your competition! Subscribe to our blog below:

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Want to stay ahead of your competitors? Check out Velocity Title’s free real estate seminars with highly focused content on topics that matter to you.

One of our Co-Founders, Glenn Donaldson, is a RESPA trained attorney who regularly shares insights on how the latest real estate court rulings and regulations impact your business—among other topics.

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  • Handling EMDs – Risks to the Fiduciary Broker
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