Virtual and augmented reality are beginning to change how houses and properties are bought, sold, remodeled and upgraded around the world. Virtual reality’s place in the real estate business is easy to envision. Strap on a headset, link up with your real estate agent and immerse yourself in a potential home thousands of miles away. It’s an easy way for potential homebuyers to identify the properties they like and cast aside those they don’t, helping real estate agents to close deals faster and save time and resources in the process. The primary challenge for VR, however, is still the high cost for hardware. It’s a growing market the could see as many as 1.4 million registered real estate agents using VR for prospective clients, according to Goldman Sachs, leading to an aggregated real estate commissions market of $107 billion. Unsurprisingly, the same report also indicated “the value proposition of a VR home listing ad can significantly outweigh that of an online ad.”
Augmented reality’s place in real estate is more nuanced, with the ability to solve a variety of pain points for homeowners or buyers and real estate professionals. That’s especially true ever since Apple released its ARKit, which has drastically lowered the startup cost of AR technologies. People no longer need the expensive, fancy glasses or helmets. All they need is a phone and an AR app.
Augmented reality’s applications in real estate are numerous. There are apps that can model a home or room in three dimensions using the sensors and cameras in newer smartphones . There are apps that delineate property boundaries, measure room dimensions or help remodelers envision where the best spot is in the kitchen for that new island fixture.
These applications and others provide the real estate industry in particular with an opportunity to craft enhanced experiences for customers. In fact, the public has already integrated the internet into the homebuying process beyond the initial searching phase. According to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, “…the internet (95 percent) and real estate agents (89 percent) remain the top two information sources used during buyers’ home search.”
The previous year’s report also indicated that phones and tablets are becoming more and more popular among homebuyers: “Their usage lifted to 72 percent in this year’s survey, which is up from 61 percent a year ago and 45 percent in 2013.”
Further, Goldman Sachs predicts that the VR and AR markets in real estate will reach $80 billion by 2025.
The growing use of mobile devices and the ongoing proliferation of the digital experience within real estate means that agencies and professionals alike need to move quickly to capture the burgeoning market share. Doing so will empower them and their customers to use multiple applications and pieces of technology to create an even more holistic purchasing or remodeling experience that leverages the two most popular ways people engage with the real estate market: through agents and the internet.