The real estate industry is changing fast, with technology and enhanced inter-connectivity already making a massive impact in the sector in terms of how customers find a property and how they view it. The internet remains one of the most popular resources for home buyers, with 95% of customers searching for real estate online, and a record 51% actually finding their ideal home that way, according to National Association of Realtors research.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) in particular are becoming increasingly popular technologies in the industry, as they allow real estate professionals to offer a unique experience and perspective to potential buyers by digitally touring properties from anywhere in the world. Helping both agents and customers save time, and considerably speeding up the buying process, this technology is only expected to grow further, as indicated by a recent Goldman Sachs report. The research predicts that the VR and AR market in real estate will reach at least $80 billion by 2025.
Below, eight real estate experts with Forbes Real Estate Council discuss the many different ways in which virtual and augmented reality technology is leaving its mark on the industry.
Members of the Forbes Real Estate Council share predictions about VR/AR.
1. It Will Save Real Estate Agents And Clients Time
One change that real estate agents welcome is making the home showing process easier and more seamless for their clients. Ask any agent about the time suck involved in showing clients houses. VR/AR is going to change the game here and allow potential buyers to “experience a home” at another level and better filter out homes they do/don’t like, saving agents time. – John Mazur, Homesnap
2. VR/AR Tours Will Put The “Real” In Real Estate
This technology will be highly proficient in unlocking the international investment potential within the world’s real estate markets. VR/AR will reach buyers on a global basis and create an increase in foreign investments. This is the future of technology and soon buyers will be able to look at properties in New York while they’re sitting at dinner in China. – Alex Chieng, A & L Real Estate Team
3. It Adds Reality To What Seems Otherwise Intangible
As a developer, it’s often hard to have a prospective buyer visualize the end product. This causes longer sales times, reduces the ability to pre-sell projects, leaves funds stuck in projects longer and delays the cycle. With VR/AR, you can now show prospective buyers what the end product will be, adding a concrete level of tangibility and increasing the ability to pre-sell projects. – Ridaa Murad, BREAKFORM | RE
4. Buyers Will Narrow Their Options With Fewer Showings
Prospective buyers will be able to get a much better feel for a home without going inside and looking. This will allow buyers to narrow the pool to a smaller group of winners without going inside the home. We are a long way off from VR or AR removing the showing process completely as it’s difficult to sense natural light, smells, sloping or spongy floors, exterior sound and other issues. – Max Coursey, Tiger Prop
5. Realtors Will Have To Adapt Or Get Replaced
The transition is coming but the real test drive is here to stay. VR/AR has recently grown in leaps and bounds but has its limits. Humans are still bound to more senses than sight, so the feeling one gets from the sun hitting you on the sundeck or the smell of the ocean will be hard to replace. VR/AR is still a great tool and will be a standard practice in real estate sales in the next decade. – Chris Ryan, Luxury Lifestyles Group / RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside
6. You’ll Be Able to ‘Visit’ An Apartment Via Virtual Tours
As technology advances, experiencing a property can be achieved in ways other than actually visiting it. It is now a common practice for tenants to commit to a lease for an apartment they have never toured. A great tool in this respect is a product named Realync, a virtual reality platform which allows the user to tour an apartment, ask questions, record presentations, make notes and share comments. – Lee Kiser, Kiser Group
7. A Lot Of Fluff Products Will Hit The Market
I predict a lot of “fluffy” VR/AR products and services coming from many real estate companies in the years to come. None of these will be very beneficial and will just smudge the consumers’ eyes. Make sure to keep your finger on the pulse with the happenings of both VR and AR, but in my opinion we are still more than 10 years away before any of them have any significant impact on the real estate space. – Engelo Rumora, List’n Sell Realty
8. Luxury Sales Will Depend More On Immersive Viewing Experiences
Today, one in every five home buyers makes an offer sight unseen. And as our world becomes more globalized, VR and AR will become more essential for reaching buyers who do not live close to the property or even in the country. Immersive viewing experiences are particularly relevant for luxury homes when there is a limited pool of potential buyers, many of whom are international. – Lynley Sides, REX – Real Estate Exchange
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Forbes Real Estate Council
Successful executives in the real estate industry from Forbes Real Estate Council share firsthand tips & insights.