Virtual reality real estate applications have yet to be fully realized, but that’s not to say investors should ignore the potential of such a disruptive technology. If for nothing else, the early adopters of real estate virtual reality could find themselves with an inherent advantage over the competition. In its simplest form, the technology behind virtual reality can guide prospective buyers on 3D home tours; at its pinnacle, however, it can revolutionize they way today’s investors conduct business.
Virtual reality harnesses today’s technology in order to create simulated replications of real environments, as to give the user a sense of being somewhere else. The virtual reality apparatus, typically manifested in the form of a helmet with an ocular component, is placed over the head and acts as a platform to convey imagery to the wearer. Or, as dictionary.com so eloquently puts it, virtual reality is “a realistic and immersive simulation of a three-dimensional environment, created using interactive software and hardware.”
It is worth noting, however, that while the concept of virtual reality may not be explained clearly and concisely in as little as a few sentences, its potential can. In a word, the potential applications of virtual reality are limitless. Virtual reality real estate applications have the ability to alter the industry’s landscape, and early adopters may find that to their benefit.
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To be perfectly clear, real estate virtual reality applications are very similar to their augmented reality counterparts. Both virtual reality and augmented reality rely heavily on digitally simulated features. That said, the greatest differentiating factor separating the two technologies happens to be the subject being simulated. Augmented reality, for example, uses a screen to overlay virtual objects on a real-world environment. In other words, augmented reality adds virtual objects to the real-world images showing up on your devices. Real estate virtual reality applications, on the other hand, immerses users in a completely artificial environment; nothing draws from a real-world environment other than what the images are modeled after. The entirety of virtual reality is just that: virtual. Therein lies the biggest difference between the two: virtual reality is entirely artificial, whereas augmented reality imposes virtual assets on a real-world landscape.
It is worth noting, however, that each application has its uses in the world of real estate investing. Both technologies are entirely capable of awarding investors the benefit of 3D home tour software, but from different perspectives. More importantly, they give new meaning to the phrase virtual properties.
3D Home Tours: 3D home tour software, while still in its infancy, has already made great stride in bringing more prospective buyers to more properties. It’s only a matter of time until this technology is installed in the majority of buyers’ houses, allowing them to view a seemingly limitless number of homes from the comfort of their own couch. Think about the possibilities: 3D home tours could very easily replace the need to walk clients through each property. The convenience alone will be well worth the investment, but the volume of tours it will permit is invaluable.
Efficiency & Scale: As I already alluded to, 3D home tour software could very easily rid investors of the need to walk every single inquiring client through each of their properties. While convenient, such a technology is more than a luxury: it’s a time saver. It is worth noting, however, that while virtual reality may save time, the important thing is what investors do with the time they are given. Without having to take so many trips to the properties, investors could easily spend their time in more valuable areas of the business.
Automation: Last, but certainly not least, properly implemented virtual reality assets have the ability to automate some of the most important aspects of an investor’s business. More specifically, if prospective buyers don’t even need to bother the investor to take a tour of the home, they are able to market the property without investing any of their own time.
At the moment, the single greatest virtual reality real estate application is the 3D home tour. As I have already suggested, it’s entirely possible to create a simulated replica of a property, inside and out. In doing so, companies that have already learned to harness the power of virtual reality will physically walk through a subject property in order to film every square inch of it with a special camera. Matterport, for example, uses a specialized 3D camera to scan a property. Once the data is collected, the company then proceeds to compile the data into a 3D rendering of the home, which viewers are free to “walk through.” In other words, taking a 3D home tour is as simple as logging onto a website and clicking in the direction you want to head. Second only to visiting the physical property, 3D property tours are a great way to see home, without actually stepped foot inside of it.
There’s no doubt about it: even today’s greatest virtual reality real estate applications have yet to break their way into the mainstream. It is worth noting, however, that 3D home tours are becoming wildly popular in niche markets, and it’s only a matter of time until this technology reaches a critical adoption rate. Those that embrace the technology now could find themselves ahead of the game, and even in a position to take their career to the next level.