Imagine the ability to show a prospective buyer the full potential of a run-down house.
It’s not about agents telling clients about changes contractors could make to modernize the space. It’s not about having an architect whip up some renderings and printing them on paper. It’s about agents having the ability to give clients an immersive walkthrough of a property before construction crews have begun any work.
That’s the potential of virtual reality, once only the tool of science fiction stories and video game makers. The technology has grown up, and as VR helmets become increasingly available to consumers, it has a chance to give real estate agents a new sales strategy resource. It could be incredibly handy when it comes to layouts.
“The primary use for it is new construction,” David Schlamm, of New York’s City Connections Real Estate, told Curbed writer Patrick Sisson in a Feb. 26 online article. “You can show lights, views, how the apartment flows. You can’t see that with photos but can with virtual reality,” he said in the article.
While the images aren’t quite photorealistic, nor do they completely replace an agent’s explanation, adopting VR could boost presales at multiunit buildings that aren’t yet complete. The tech can show buyers a variety of different units in different finishes, which could be a boon for decorators. The virtual reality tours would replace clunky Internet walkthroughs, providing depth that current standards can’t achieve.
“Our whole business exists to work on spaces that don’t exist,” Jamie Fleming, partner and CEO of Studio216, said in the article. “Clients are hiring us to show them what the future looks like.”
Studio216 is a San Francisco-based company that creates virtual reality tours using headsets like Occulus Rift. Facebook bought Occulus in 2014, banking on how the company would bring VR to mainstream homes. Mainstream adoption is critical for any real estate application.
Though VR has come a long way since the 1990s, it still needs to mature. According to Stephanie Davis of Virtual Experience, another company that is developing products for the real estate industry, some users still complain about getting dizzy while wearing the goggles.