Real Estate News & Commentary

Why Virtual Reality is About to Revolutionize the Real Estate Industry

Expertise: Commercial Real Estate, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing, Business Management, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Mortgages & Creative Financing
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Virtual reality (VR) will revolutionize the real estate industry. It may take a little time to become the norm, but for those that want to be leaders, there is no time to waste in embracing the latest technology.

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Imagine walking through a property from your own home. This saves so much time and streamlines the property viewing process. We’ve somewhat been able to do this with virtual tours and Skype or Google Hangouts for several years. New VR tools are making this even more experiential. It’s the future of real estate marketing. Not just because it is cool, but because it will differentiate which real estate companies will resonate best with consumers and which will operate most profitably.

Related: 4 Ways Technology is Shaking Up Commercial Real Estate (& Why Multifamily Will Pull Ahead)

Viewing Properties From Afar

The most obvious use of this new technology is to allow investors to check out properties from a distance. Not only will this help to view properties, but it can also be a tool to suggest changes and view them in real time virtually. That is a game changer. Rehabbers can use this and so can buyers instructing their renovation contractors.

I do see this helping agents as opposed to replacing their jobs (hopefully). Instead of taking a buyer to view each home, you can have them walk it virtually. After they’ve narrowed their choices down, they can actually go see the ones they like. This applies to leasing agents as well. It saves them time on not having to show the unit to every prospect. That can also increase personal safety and minimize the dangers to employees.

Tapping into Profitable Markets

For investors, it increases the effectiveness of sourcing for deals and then allows for a more thorough due diligence without traveling to view each individual property. It also enables investors to tap into more profitable opportunities out of area or internationally.

Related: 5 Real Estate Jobs That Have Been Made Obsolete by Tech (& 4 That Haven’t)

Beyond the old virtual tour and video conferencing, we now have drone photography, interactive signage, 3D TV, and VR goggles. As Forbes points out, while the technology is out there, it is still on real estate professionals to embrace and use it. Sadly, many real estate agents and investors are incredibly resistant to new technology. Still, a survey of 17 real estate agents on what they would tell themselves back in their first year sees most saying that using more technology and internet marketing would have made the biggest difference.

Are you using VR yet?

Let me know your experiences with a comment!

Sterling is an multifamily investor specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling w...
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    Seyed Javaheri from Houston, tx
    Replied over 3 years ago
    Real estate business is mainly about building relationships& the personal touch with clients which technology can’t replace. I don’t mean to sound negative about embracing this level of technology. But the joy of walking with another human being, our dear clients, into a house of their dream & being able to interact with them is needed to coexist with a new technological advancement.
    Colin Smith Realtor from Colorado Springs, CO
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I use a Matterport 3D Camera which has greatly improved my business. As an agent, from the sales side, I have been able to sell houses to buyers from out of state and even out of the country who were comfortable with the purchase by walking the home in virtual reality. From a property management perspective, I require applicants to look at the virtual tour instead of in person showings. This greatly reduces my time driving to and from properties to show applicants a property they may not be interested in.
    Darren Sager Investor from Summit, NJ
    Replied over 3 years ago
    I think if Stirling had any clue about Virtual Reality and Real Estate you cannot write this article without mentioning Matterport. I’m the first one in my office to own the camera and have upgraded to the 4K version for all my listings. I do the same thing as you do Colin. I scan even rental listings and make sure someone has seen them first before actually showing the unit. Only serious people will want to see in person after seeing the scan.
    Joshua Olivo Investor from San Diego, CA
    Replied 6 months ago
    I just came across this article again after reading it almost three years ago and it's even more relevant now than ever! I remember reading this back then thinking, "It would be awesome to create a business around this someday!" Flash forward to the current state of the world we are living in. It's almost as if Sterling had a crystal ball. I agree that tech shouldn't ever replace positive human interaction, it certainly does a lot to improve the client's experience. Like Colin and Darren said, it's a great time saver for both parties and increases efficiency. I finally started my 3D virtual tour and aerial photography business a couple of months ago, before "stay home, stay safe" was a household phrase. I'm utilizing VR and the Matterport system as well. The tech has come a long way and is fantastic. Pretty soon we'll be living in the world of the movie "Ready Player One". I hope everyone stays safe, healthy and optimistic as possible! - Josh