Will VR/AR Make or Break Properties?
Is Malaysia ready for VR visits and AR staging?
4 min read
Most people need to see a property with their own two eyes before believing in it. This is why site visits and staging properties have been the standard for the longest time.
What if there was a better way to show and sell properties? Could we do away with time-consuming property tours and costly mock-ups? Could we expand the net to catch investors and buyers wherever they are and at their utmost convenience?
Reality is changing. Now with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, we can immerse people in virtual properties to create real experiences in the minds of people anywhere in the world in ways that 2D pictures and imagination alone could not compete with. This will change the way we view and transact properties moving forward.
While appearing similar, VR and AR are distinct in terms of what each achieves in real estate applications, and the ways these goals are reached.
VR in Real Estate: Seeing is Believing
Virtual Reality puts a viewer in a computer-generated environment that is designed to look like the real world. To create a property in VR, advanced 360° degree cameras are brought in to the actual site, takes pictures of each room from various positions, and stitches them together to produce a seamless 3D image from room to room to accurately capture how the property looks like in reality.
Currently, agencies can either create a guided visit in the form of a conventional video of the VR property that can be easily embedded on listings, or enable interactive visits that allow users to explore the virtual model as they like.
These VR properties are not anchored to the actual site, meaning that the “walkthrough” of the property can be made accessible to anyone with a computer or mobile device (or a VR Headset for a fully-immersive experience).
Interested parties everywhere can now make a virtual tour of the property without the need for an agent, which is especially beneficial for agencies with widespread portfolios and also overseas investors from other time zones. With these VR Properties, developers can even start selling units even before the project is even started!
AR in Real Estate: Powering Imagination
As the name Augmented Reality suggests, AR is designed to enhance and add to the physical world. Often this involves the overlaying of virtual objects and other information onto a view of the real world, such as through a mobile device or onto a video feed. Using this core technology, Real Estate AR applications currently provide 2 key functionalities:
- Overlay information of real-life objects
AR Real Estate Applications such as Homespotter and Street Peek allow users to obtain more details on properties for sale by pointing their camera at it, where the app will show information such as listing or rental price, recently sold price, date of the last transaction, and availability for sale/rent. Some apps even include a radar feature that tracks all nearby properties for sale within the user’s vicinity.
- Create digital objects in real-life spaces
Other property AR softwares such as Curate by Sotheby’s and IKEA Place allow users to place and customize virtual furniture sets within real rooms. This represents a significantly more efficient means of staging a room, as users can switch between many layouts to make direct comparisons based on their preferences. Once a final layout is selected, users can even conveniently purchase the furniture online to ensure that the final product will be as close to the simulation as possible.
Other AR apps within this category include Magicplan which allows users to capture a room’s floor plan with their camera, and Homesnap that captures and shows a physical view of a property’s boundaries.
VR and AR will put the “Real” in Real Estate. The ability for prospects to clearly visualize the end product will shorten sales processes and greatly increase the ability to pre-sell projects.
While the technology is in its early phases, the potential for it to simplify the property viewing experience and detangle it from real-world limitations such as distance and furnishing costs. Once in full-swing, Real Estate VR and AR will catalyse the buying process speed many times over.
At the current rate of technological development, realtors will soon be able to sell properties to anyone, anywhere, and those who are slow to integrate VR and AR into their existing marketing process may soon find themselves cut off from a very profitable slice of the property cake.
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