In a highly demanding buyer’s market, giving your clients what they need can be very challenging. Also, every client is different, and as they say – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. A huge living room, for instance, maybe a waste of space for you but would be perfect for someone who loves to host parties.
AR/VR in real estate presents the perfect solution to the changing needs of discerning customers. The global AR VR in the real estate market ecosystem1 is expected to grow at a CAGR of 31.2%, increasing in value from USD 298.6 million in 2018 to USD 1,151.9 million in 2023.
The pandemic has compelled realtors to change the way they work, and there is no going back. Real estate companies now look to implement perfect customization to help customers flip through properties like the pages of a magazine until they find exactly what they want.
Virtual reality home tours are becoming a thing as customers visit their prospective homes through strategically placed 360° cameras. The footage acquired is put together to create a seamless, real-life, 3-D experience to give your customers the feeling of actually being there sizing up the space with exact dimensions.
The virtual experience evokes strong emotions giving potential buyers the feel of owning the place. While this looks great from a customer experience perspective, we seek to gauge the impact of these disruptive technologies on the real estate landscape. And more importantly, to help you decide if it’s for you.
Real estate needs digital transformation
The salability quotient of any property depends on its Days on Market or the DOM index. There are several factors that affect the DOM index significantly. These include the property’s condition, seasonal variability, buyer’s availability, seller’s lead time to allow in-person showing, competition, location, and price.
While you may put in a lot of hard work in each area to improve the index, AR and VR can save you considerable time and money even in times of a potential downturn. With the help of a headset and a smartphone or a tablet, you can harness the benefits of these immersive technologies to sell properties in the residential and commercial segment.
Says Maty Paule, head of product at Commercial Real Estate2, “Real estate is all about location and appearances, while two emerging themes in AR are geo-location and image detection. The ability for users to access property data in their current location is a powerful proposition. In contrast, the possibility of modifying a property’s visual appearance to understand development or renovation potential is a game-changer.”
VR allows users to explore in a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment using headsets, and AR creates an enhanced version of reality. Here are our top 5 recommendations to get started.
1. Start small; start now.
Considering the number of tools available today, it is easier to develop content quickly. Start with AR and VR training use cases keeping the devices and tools you will require and how you are planning to source them. After the initial hiccups, you would be able to plan to scale and incorporate exciting ideas along the way to tailor the perfect experience for your customers.
2. Keep it simple
A test-and-learn approach may be ideal as you can get your team involved in the project to get a taste of how the user experience will be. Starting with augmented reality would be a good idea to get a fair idea of how your digital journey will pan out. Most importantly, start now to be ready to handle intricacies and challenges with better capabilities going forward.
3. Prepare for change
Every new technology will bring along a shift in the way you work. You need to figure out how AR and VR will change the experiences for your users and how they will impact your team and workforce. There will be a need for greater collaboration since everything will be managed virtually. You need to plan in advance to let change not impede your work.
4. Assess your needs
You must have a very realistic assessment of your business needs to choose technologies accordingly. For instance, if your people are struggling to finish tasks, the right technologies will empower them with everything they need. AR will enable augmented learning while VR will let them explore, replace, and repair parts albeit in a virtual scenario, to understand and practice adequately before implementing the skill. You must also decide which tools would be required depending on the content you need to create.
5. Choose your people and skills
Your existing workforce may require upskilling, or you may need additional staff to manage new requirements and extend your capabilities. Address the skill gaps early on so that you don’t have to suffer any delays.
Benefits of AR/VR in real estate
AR and VR together give real estate solid value and benefits that make AR and VR investments worthwhile.
Building on-demand capabilities with Virtual Tours
Those on the lookout for properties can be allowed to experience the property virtually from the comfort of their home, thanks to virtual tours. Guided visits can be shared through 360-degree videos for existing properties, while interactive visits allow users to focus on a specific area. Potential buyers can utilize VR capabilities on-demand to virtually access a property on the very same day.
Leveraging VR for Virtual staging
As per a survey, 40% of buyer’s agents have confessed home staging affects buyers’ view of the home, while 17% of respondents revealed that property staging had increased the home’s dollar value between 6-10%.
Does that mean you blatantly hide all the flaws and mislead buyers?
Rather than using virtual staging to hide ugly details, you can always be honest and give a more realistic picture. As Rick Davis, a real estate attorney from Kansas points out3, “Most sellers think it is in their best interest to disclose as little as possible. I completely disagree with this sentiment. In the vast majority of cases, disclosing the additional information, especially if it is something that was previously repaired, will not cause a buyer to back out or ask for a price reduction.”
The adoption of AR/VR in real estate has been helping realtors expand their portfolio the way they did in the case of Sotheby’s International Realty that has been growing by leaps and bounds with an ever-expanding suite of technology-driven tools. After leveraging VR to help their sales team sell homes globally without the buyer setting foot on the property, the company has partnered with Google and RoOomy for their AR offering ‘Curate’.
Visualizing full-scale models with virtual architecture
It is always difficult to get buyers interested in a property that is yet to be built. The virtual architecture allows customers to visualize the interiors and exteriors of the property with the help of full-scale models. This saves realtors time and money while generating a buzz around their property. A mere piece of land can be transformed into complete architecture to enable experiences in the early stages of design. AR comes in handy from the prototyping to the construction phase generating pop-up 3D models of projected structures.
Enhancing customer experience with virtual commerce
While the above principles give your buyers a chance to visualize and experience the property, virtual commerce goes a step further in ensuring that they get to make those tiny tweaks and experiment with the elements on their own. In other words, if they are on a virtual tour and want wooden flooring with an oak finish instead of the plain porcelain tiles that are currently being offered, they can go for an upgrade right away. This applies to all virtual staging objects such as curtains, light fixtures, and furniture by purchasing what they need from partnering hardware and upholstery providers.
They can even choose a property and then move on to other providers like IKEA to spruce up the space with everything they need. After helping customers digitally place furniture in their homes via Place App, IKEA has now come up with IKEA Studio, a much-needed overhaul of its predecessor. It lets you capture 3D room plans with accurate measurements, including ceilings, windows, and doorways, while taking into account the current arrangement of your furniture.
Houzz, a leading platform for home renovation and design, is also helping customers transform living spaces and even tile their floors virtually. The company had added visual tech to its mix not too long ago, starting with 2D stickers. The mobile team took product photos and offered them as stickers after removing the background. This enabled shoppers to view them in their rooms in the form of 2D stickers, and this straightforward strategy gave them a 3X boost in conversions.
Several product cycles later, Houzz offered AR visualization to visualize products before shopping and saw an 11X boost in conversions.
Building practical solutions with virtual apps
AR/VR apps are convenient and a practical solution to showing the world exactly how a finished property looks like. They are intended to show how it would look in real environments. An app such as RealAR gives your customers the freedom to simply stand on a piece of land and get a good representation of how a property would look like using a smartphone or a tablet. It converts floor plans into walkthroughs that can be used onsite or remotely to understand room size and layouts and get a realistic picture of the property.
AR/VR in real estate is transforming the landscape
VR and AR technologies are changing the tide for realtors worldwide, helping them make stellar first impressions. VR/AR is just taking off now, and real estate firms are getting their feet wet.
There is tremendous potential, and we are yet to experience the full benefits of these amazing technologies.
So if you are still wondering if you should invest in AR/VR for your real estate business, we’d say, “By all means, go for it!” You can save time scheduling in-person visits and unproductive viewings and create targeted, personalized experiences instead. What’s more, adopting AR/VR is fairly easy. All you need is an expert to help you transform digital engagement and experience one solution at a time.
Adopt AR/VR in your real estate firms with Trigent
Our decades of experience give us the skills to help realtors increase the effectiveness of their business in the residential as well as commercial sectors. We empower real-estate stakeholders with AR/VR solutions to connect with their customers and build trust. We can help you too.
Allow us to help you build a dynamic, detailed, and immersive experience that will not just reduce costs but give you a competitive edge in a relatively volatile market.