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How Realtors Can Use Virtual & Augmented Reality
When the internet revolutionized the real estate industry, realtors who saw the opportunity early and adapted were able to thrive. Now the real estate industry is on the cusp of a new revolution, the Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) revolution.
Goldman Sachs predicts that the Virtual and Augmented Reality market in real estate will reach at least $80 billion by 2025. As an agent, it is important to understand these powerful new technologies and learn how to take advantage of them.
The benefits of Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality is a computer generated simulation of real-life environments achieved primarily through the use of headsets. When worn, the users vision and hearing are stimulated to provide realistic experiences.
VR can do wonders to improve customer experience and ease of access. Software companies use photos and videos taken with specialty equipment to create an interactive and 360-degree life-like rendering of a property, allowing clients to step in and walk around their potential home without actually having to go there. Realtors would be able to take their clients to dozens of homes in a matter of minutes.
This type of technology also helps clients feel more comfortable purchasing properties sight-unseen, and allows overseas buyers to experience a property without having to travel physically to the location, which costs time and money.
When it comes to unbuilt homes, developers can relieve clients’ anxiety using VR to reveal what the finished product might look.
There are many companies already offering VR services, including MatterPort, a company that creates 3-D, interactive walkthroughs of homes. roOomy is a virtual staging technology company that allows you to visualize any room or space the way you would decorate it yourself. For unbuilt properties, there is Virtual Xperience, which provides 3-D renderings to help customers better visualize the property.
The benefits of Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality is the superimposition of computer-generated images on existing environments to make them more interactive. It is utilized in the form of applications for mobile devices.
AR can transform the way a customer looks at a home. With the touch of a button, clients can modify the color of a wall or add a piece of furniture into the room. AR can also be used to superimpose a renovation or a repair.
AR is currently the more accessible of the two technologies because it works on mobile devices. The release of Apple’s newest operating system, iOS11, includes ARKit, a new framework for developers to create AR experiences for iPads and iPhones. This will likely lead to a proliferation of new AR applications for real estate.
Some applications already offer AR features to realtors, including HomeSnap, which allows users to see the property lines of a home as they are walking. PLNAR generates floor plans without having to manually measure and document room dimensions. The app Houzz has a “View in my room 3D” feature which allows users to preview more than 500,000 images of furniture and decor products from the Houzz Shop and move them around and position them to see how they look before you buy.
PLNAR's AR technology can generate floor plans easily.
These are just a few of the ways VR and AR are already being used. As the technology grows and matures, the possibilities are limitless. Realtors who don’t want to fall behind the times should start exploring how to use AR and VR to provide clients with an experience they have never had before.