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How VR is Changing the Real Estate Game

Over the last decade, the speed at which technology has developed has significantly changed the way we experience the world. Unlike previous generations – who had the time and luxury to slowly adapt to new trends in tech – we are seeing new innovations on a consistent, and sometimes overlapping, basis. Gen X’ers and Millenials haven’t lived in a world without constant change, and – as a result – have an ingrained sense of adaptability, and even embrace successful advancements in technology wholeheartedly.

To marketers, this is both a boon and a bane. In order to truly impress, you need to provide something that transcends standard everyday fare… and this is becoming increasingly more difficult in a world where the “new” quickly becomes “old.”

The advent of Virtual Reality provided us with a new way to look at and talk about real estate. Through increasingly more readily available software, you can transport yourself or a client into a virtual space within seconds, and this has become a game changer in some markets.

Savvy developers have embraced the technology wholeheartedly, and have employed it to great effect with their clients. They are finding that it is more than just a “trick pony,” and has applications that are both broad and far-reaching, particularly appealing to key stages in their process.

  • In the investment phase, VR can turn an empty lot into a fully realized development to entice investors.
  • In the development phase, VR can help articulate the architect’s plan to all major stakeholders.
  • In the pre-lease phase, VR can provide both static and interactive marketing elements.

Developers are realizing that technology like VR allows them to do much, much more than market their properties. With the ability to experience your design rather than just visualize, you can spend less brain power on imagining your creation and more on problem-solving. A floorplan is missing a safety exit? You can quickly see and fix the problem. An elevator to the middle of a proposed hotel would likely increase guest satisfaction? Redesign the layout. An interior designer needs to virtually rearrange a fixer-upper to see how to best utilize the space in a master bathroom? Problem solved.

(Tap the example below to see for yourself! Use your fingers, mouse or trackpad to navigate the space, and anywhere you see a green HighRock icon, tap to enter a new room.)

Four Seasons interactive VR

Clients, long used to the instant gratification of online shopping, can now experience apartment tours from the comfort of their own home. The experience can even be interactive, allowing them to rearrange or change furniture, swap wall paint, and even throw pillows around the room! Imagine you are trying to rent New York City apartment space to hip 20-somethings. Having your listings uploaded into the virtual space would allow a software developer in Seattle - thinking about moving to the east coast for a change of pace - to take a tour of your listings without ever having to travel across the country. Your client saves time and money by deciding whether or not your apartment is the right fit, without ever having to leave home.

While Virtual Reality is a “new” technology (for now, at least!), it’s proven itself time and time again in the real estate market. And as the next generation moves into independence, they are going to expect real estate companies to conform to their expectations: a convenient, premium experience with some intriguing innovation that demands their attention.