One of the biggest challenges to moving to a new city, aside from the logistics, is knowing which home will be right for you. Not being able to fully inspect the house in-person and relying solely on pictures beforehand can be stressful. Now, with the development of virtual reality technology such as the Oculus Rift, real estate professionals are hoping to help alleviate this problem. Although nothing really beats seeing your future property first hand, getting a virtual reality tour is the next best thing. With virtual reality, you can narrow down which properties are right for you, without even having to leave the house.
This novel idea has already been applied to the luxury real estate market in Los Angeles and New York. In an interview with Fortune.com, Matthew Hood of Sotheby’s International Realty has started using Samsung Virtual Reality Gear as well as 3D scanning technology to completely map a house for use in Virtual Reality open houses. This 3D technology is somewhat moderate, the cost to map a single house ranges from $300-$700, making those in the luxury real estate markets go-to early adopters.
As this technology becomes cheaper and more accessible, it could very well spread to the traditional real estate market. A virtual reality tour could act as a mechanism for filtering out tire kickers and dealing with only serious buyers. Those who like what they see in the virtual tour, can then make the informed decision to go see the real thing. Reducing foot traffic to open houses to serious buyers in busy markets.
Virtual reality for real estate certainly has some potential, however some people aren’t quite sold yet on the practicality of the technology, citing it as a gimmick. To become widespread, the technology would have to be practical enough to give potential home buyers a sense of realism, not just 3D pictures on a close up screen. Only time will tell if VR can match its potential, or go down as yet another tech flop such as the QR code, palm pilot and HD DVD.
However, the fact that Facebook has bought Oculus gives us hope that the technology has some credibility that VR could become a practical tool in the real estate industry down the road. Regardless of what happens, it’s something that we’ll be watching closely.
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Chris is an editor and writer for Welcome Mat. He is based out of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada