VR Home Tours: The Future of Real Estate Showingsby@devinpartida
939 reads
939 reads

VR Home Tours: The Future of Real Estate Showings

by Devin PartidaApril 17th, 2024
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript
tldt arrow

Too Long; Didn't Read

Virtual reality (VR) may soon replace pictures as the standard visualization tool for online property listings. How will this technology impact buyers and sellers while reshaping the real estate market?VR technology enables you to tour every room in a property and speak face-to-face with the rental agent.
featured image - VR Home Tours: The Future of Real Estate Showings
Devin Partida HackerNoon profile picture

Virtual reality (VR) may soon replace pictures as the standard visualization tool for online property listings. How will this technology impact buyers and sellers while reshaping the real estate market?

The Emerging Trend of VR Home Tours in Real Estate

VR technology enables you to tour every room in a property and speak face-to-face with the rental agent without leaving the comfort of your living room couch. This might be why its global market value in the real estate sector will increase to $2.6 billion in 2025, up from $800 million in 2020.

One of the biggest advantages of virtual home tours is accessibility. It doesn’t matter if a property is under construction or occupied by the owners — with VR, you can walk through it anyway. You can even schedule an assisted walkthrough with a rental or listing agent to get insider information on the property, even if you’re both on opposite ends of the country.

If you plan on moving into a fixer-upper, you can use VR technology to visualize the property’s potential by overlaying renovations or design changes onto the real-world model. These features make this type of tour one of the most personal and immersive — which is why it’s catching on so quickly.

With interest rates rising — the interest rate on 30-year mortgages increased from an average of 3.02% in 2020 to 5.8%-6.1% in 2024 — real estate demand is slowing. This is where VR comes in. It has the unique opportunity to benefit buyers and sellers by making touring more efficient and getting properties off the market faster.

The Technical Advancements Making It All Possible

While VR technology is fundamental to a virtual home tour, a handful of other innovations make it possible. The first is high-resolution 3D imaging, where a 360-degree camera scans the property. The seller then stitches the images together with specialized software to make a realistic virtual replica for tours.

The second innovation making VR home tours possible is the Internet of Things (IoT). Sellers can use interconnected sensors to feed real-time data into the virtual world to make it more dynamic. Alternatively, they can use internet-connected edge devices to reduce the computational and bandwidth-related strain on end users.

Advances in controllers and motion sensors have made interactivity possible. Instead of sitting through a prerecorded guided tour, you can move through the property at your own pace. Also, you can trigger animations — like lowering the blinds or opening the cabinets — with a flick of your wrist.

Considering consumer applications makeup 53% of the VR market, the number of technological advancements directed toward real estate shouldn’t surprise you. There’s a lot of money in researching and developing software, design, and hosting platforms for these applications.

The Implications of VR-Driven Real Estate Showings

VR technology makes home tours more accessible, broadening the pool of interested parties. According to experts, they reach more potential buyers than the standard approach. They don’t just attract more people — they’re also more engaging.

Usually, you only can see a property’s layout when looking at its listing online. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get many high-quality pictures. However, even those don’t give you a good idea of how it feels to be in the house. VR engages you more because it places you in an immersive, lifelike replica where you have agency and control.

While the buyer-side implications of virtual home tours might be more noticeable, the seller-side ones are more impactful. Properties using VR real estate showings have selling prices 7.25% higher than the benchmark. Heightened buyer engagement and broadened accessibility lead to a competitive advantage.

The process moves more quickly since virtual tours don’t require in-person assistance or scheduling. Some experts claim properties using VR real estate showings spend 20%-30% fewer days on the market. As a result, agents can take on more listings at once.

Potential Challenges Buyers and Sellers Face Using VR

Although VR home tours benefit buyers and sellers, they also often come with challenges — with the lack of VR headset accessibility being one of the most significant. While virtual viewings are still possible without one, immersive experiences are only possible with mid- or high-end equipment. Properties in low-income locations are more likely to be impacted by this issue.

Another challenge buyers and sellers face is agent accessibility. While virtual home tours don’t need an assistant, many serious buyers want one so they can ask questions. However, the increased attention VR listings get can complicate scheduling.

The last potential challenge revolves around the accuracy of virtual property replicas. Even though developing one costs less than $300 on average, some sellers might be unable to afford to redo theirs every time they renovate or change something. As a result, the tour might not resemble its real-life counterpart — making buyers feel misled.

The Future Outlook of VR Home Tours in Real Estate

Sellers can use VR to track eye movement, location data, and interaction information to see where buyers come from and which properties they’re most interested in. This way, they can optimize their marketing, demand forecasting, pricing, and risk assessment strategies.

At the same time, buyers can remotely walk through properties regardless of location and conditions. VR technology’s impact on accessibility and engagement will likely transform what the standard property sale looks like.

VR technology has the potential to permanently transform the real estate market, becoming the go-to choice for sellers and prospective buyers. As its popularity increases, it might become standard to include it alongside layout and property pictures and come to be something people expect to see.