Disruptive tech is changing industries ranging from taxicabs to healthcare. Can it improve the homebuying experience too?
The U.S. real estate landscape has long been dominated by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), an influential industry group that’s gotten in hot water before for their attempts to squelch disruptive technology (see their 2008 consent decree from the U.S. Department of Justice, which forbid them from discriminating against online brokerages). But better tech and a better experience for home buyers are coming to the real estate world, whether NAR is prepared for it or not.
Blockchain and Virtual Reality (VR) are two of the most talked-about technologies in Silicon Valley — and with good reason. Blockchain’s immutable ledger allows trustworthy, reliable transactions that are executed with minimal processing or administrative costs. VR lets creators make and share immersive environments for educational or entertainment purposes. Both technologies can make the real estate experience better for buyers, sellers, and even agents. A newly announced partnership between blockchain startup Deedcoin and Cappasity shows how VR and blockchain are a match made in real estate heaven.
Tackling Agent Fees with Blockchain
Deedcoin uses dedicated blockchain tokens to tackle the problem of high real estate agent fees. In the U.S. home sales typically involve two agents (one for the buyer and one for the seller), but the seller usually pays both of them. Each agent typically charges a fee of about 3% of the home’s sale price, or 6% total. This percentage is far higher than in many other countries with similarly developed housing markets. Agent fees average around 1.5% in the UK and 3% in Canada, for example.
Deedcoin holders can use blockchain-based Deedcoin tokens to replace portions of the cash fee they would pay to Deedcoin-approved agents. A home seller working with Deedcoin agents could pay as little as 1% of their home’s value in cash as an agent fee, and pay the rest of the standard fee (5%) in Deedcoin, with 10 Deedcoin each representing 1% of the home’s value. The result is massive savings for the buyer.
Deedcoin essentially uses blockchain tokens to provide access to their network of lower-cost Deedcoin-approved agents. Deedcoin only works with the number of agents a given market needs, so they spend their time and resources closing deals rather than competing for customers.
Bringing VR to Home Buying
Deedcoin is teaming up with Cappasity. Cappasity uses blockchain to fund and manage a comprehensive ecosystem for VR content creation and distribution. They completed a successful ICO six months ago and are now entering partnerships with companies such as French fashion brand Claris Virot and eCommerce tool provider Elysian. Cappasity’s VR-building technology can be used in online shopping, virtual education, entertainment, digital offices, and plenty of other settings.
Deedcoin and Cappasity are now teaming up to tackle one of the most time-consuming elements of buying a new home: touring a new property. The right house rarely appears out of thin air for the aspiring home buyer. Instead, they must coordinate schedules with their agent and home sellers and spend their weekends looking at available homes. Things are even harder if they’re moving a long distance and must make rushed house-hunting trips. A lot of the stress generated by house-hunting is unnecessary because buyers often can tell within the first few minutes of touring a house whether the property is a contender for serious consideration or not.
VR can solve this problem. Using Cappasity, an agent working with sellers to put a house on the market can create a virtual reality model of the building. There’s no specialized equipment needed; sellers can generate the model by merely taking a panoramic picture of each room with their smartphone and stitching the images together online.
This VR model means anyone browsing property listing sites can click on a house’s page and go on a full digital house tour. The digital house tour may not always entirely replace the value of an in-person visit, but it can help home buyers substantially cut down on non-productive property visits by helping them cull out unsuitable properties and make a list of particularly promising ones.
VR home tours are instantaneous and low-stress. A New Yorker planning their move to Los Angeles could digitally search through properties and make a list of candidates to visit during a short home-hunting trip. Even a family just moving across town could use VR house tours to save time. VR house models reduce stress for sellers too, who get more eyeballs on their property while spending less time and energy giving in-person tours.
Deedcoin token holders get free access to Cappasity, though other home buyers can also use Cappasity to tour houses digitally. Both companies are offering disruptive tech that can improve the home buying and selling experience. In their new partnership, buyers and sellers can enjoy the advantages of both blockchain and VR.
The author has had a working or personal relationship with one or more companies mentioned in this article in the past. Access to mentioned company’s management and information was made through the author’s personal network. All information was vetted prior to posting.
This essay is not intended to be a source of investment, financial, technical, tax, or legal advice. All of this content is for informational purposes only.