Is VR the savior of the real estate market?
Property technology (otherwise known as PropTech) may be just what the real estate industry needs most now. During the pandemic, housing sales have dropped significantly. As we enter a post-pandemic society, the real estate industry might just have to adapt to the changing trends that COVID-19 has accelerated.
Virtual reality (VR) is perhaps the most valuable tool that real estate agents can have in sustaining the industry. The use of VR in real estate is nothing new, but it has never dominated the market. While some realtors use VR for property showings, most prefer to give potential buyers personal house tours, either out of tradition or cost concerns.
But in a post-pandemic world, the use of VR in the real estate industry may well become less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
Personalized (not in-person) tours
Some buyers may find using VR headsets for house tours impersonal and lacking in personal touch. But VR can actually be used to personalize a property showing. By providing tailored tours of properties, realtors can take advantage of the knowledge of their clients’ needs and use the technology to present a space that fits their requirements. Since it’s virtual, realtors can implement virtual staging in the digital mock-up by adding in clients’ own furniture and painting the walls in a specific color. This is helpful for newly-built, unfurnished properties that are up for rental or sale.
This kind of personalization helps reach prospective buyers on a personal level and shows that the realtor actually understands and cares about the customer’s desires. Helping clients feel seen and respected as well as developing an emotional connection to a property can facilitate the closure of a deal.
Real estate agents can also recommend clients to interact with the digital models themselves, something that couldn’t possibly be done without VR. Potential buyers can fully immerse themselves in the environment, and move around and organize furniture and their personal belongings throughout the house. This level of interaction can be far more engaging than a traditional showing, where realtors could only use their words to help clients imagine the outlook of their future homes.
Visualizing an unfinished property
Realtors sometimes have to sell houses that are still under the building process. This would be difficult to sell, as most people like to see and examine a product before paying money for it.
With VR, realtors can run experiential marketing campaigns by showing and selling properties while houses are still in their construction phase. They can show digital models of what these properties would look like once it has been completed. The virtual models can use the same dimensions as the actual site, giving customers an accurate idea of the final look of the place. One advantage of this is that new property buyers could move in once construction has finished, and realtors can make sales faster in a shorter period of time.
Bypassing health concerns
Even after the pandemic, people may still have health concerns and wouldn’t want to physically interact as much with strangers. With VR showings, they wouldn’t have to. Real estate agents can meet with clients virtually on a digital tour and wouldn’t have to be physically in the same room as them. With technological advancements, VR headsets may not even be needed for property showings. Customers can just use their phones or laptops to examine new properties in a 360-degree immersive setting without having to leave their own homes.
Digital transformation is necessary for survival. For an industry that is still recovering from pandemic lows, VR might just provide a path forward.
Header image courtesy of Unsplash