In today’s fast-moving technological age, some of the developments constantly being introduced are bound to have a significant impact on the property industry. One of the most recent is virtual reality (VR). For many, it is associated with video games and entertainment. This technology, however, can be very beneficial for estate agents.
VR Property Marketing
VR is a game-changer transforming the way the property industry functions. The power of VR technology can help estate agents grow their business, get more clients and deliver top-level services. It’s particularly important to adopt it today, not only because of COVID-19 restrictions but also because according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, 44% of buyers begin their search for properties on the internet. Moreover, according to Estate Agent Today, virtual reality marketing using 3D technology generates up to 4 times more interest, 49% more leads, and sells homes up to 5 weeks faster.
360 Virtual Tours
Guided visits are perfect for existing properties as they are rather simple to make, the only equipment needed is a panoramic camera to capture 360-degree video. They don’t require any programming or sophisticated rendering. The potential buyer should wear a VR headset (a simple device such as Google Cardboard is sufficient) to get the most immersive experience.
Interactive visits allow users to choose where to move within a property by clicking on hotspots in their field of view. Creating interactive virtual home tours is more complicated, but they are more engaging than guided visits.
VR property marketing allows estate agents to show a property to anyone, anywhere at any time of the day. The benefits of that are undeniable.
Staging is a great way to market properties but it requires investment, particularly if you’re selling empty ones. Virtual reality technology enables estate agents to market staged properties with very little investment. How? VR technology allows for virtual staging which means estate agents can show prospective buyers a fully furnished space, despite it being empty in real life. This means agents can present a space in an optimal way to help the buyers imagine their lives there, which could give marketing a significant boost.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented Reality goes a step further and adds digital elements to the experience. It allows prospective buyers to experience a space, even if it hasn’t been built yet. It also enables someone to change the property they are viewing by moving or replacing the furniture for example.
Marketing a property that hasn’t been built yet has always been a challenge for property developers and estate agents. Three-dimensional models showing a new property or neighbourhood help potential buyers imagine the architecture.
When it comes to the interiors of these new developments, estate agents create large showrooms with full-scale models of apartments. Needless to say, this requires considerable investment.
Virtual reality can effectively solve this problem and allow potential 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. Estate agents can use VR technology to show both the exterior and interior of properties in development so that clients can get a clear idea of what’s being offered.
Virtual commerce uses augmented reality technology to go a step further than virtual staging by allowing buyers to make changes to the interior as they are viewing a property and style it according to their preferences.
This is done through access to virtual stores and can be an invaluable way of helping potential buyers visualise themselves in a property and overcome some of their concerns about how a home would work for them.
What is the benefit for vendors?
The answer is simple: fewer viewings. The average vendor will have to go through between 19-25 viewings. That means 19-25 times they have to clean their property, make it ‘buyer ready’ and let strangers in their home.
Using VR for property tours can significantly reduce the number of viewings as it enables buyers to establish whether a home is for them before they go to see it in person. A virtual tour means a vendor prepares their home once for it to be recorded and will likely experience less wasted viewings going forward.
What is the benefit for buyers?
VR opens up a buyers’ imagination and helps them envision themselves in a property before they have physically viewed it. Whilst beautiful property photography is a must, research has found that 75% of buyers actually preferred virtual tours to regular photography. Not only that, but 68% of people would also like to see what their furniture would look like in a potential new home and 71% of millennials show a particularly positive attitude toward VR property marketing.
What are the benefits for estate agents?
VR saves time
This is probably the biggest benefit. Virtual reality saves time for both clients and agents. Thanks to VR, there’s no need to travel from one property to another. Instead, clients can enjoy immersive, three-dimensional tours of dozens of properties without actually being there.
VR builds emotional connection
360 virtual tours help potential buyers and tenants visualise living in the property. The immersive experience creates an emotional connection and engages clients a lot more than conventional 2D images and videos.
VR saves money
Developing feature-rich 3D virtual tours may seem expensive, but the investment in traditional property marketing can be significantly bigger, especially considering staging properties, providing high-quality images & print materials and travelling to and from the properties for viewings.