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Quite a bit, as advancements in
augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are currently proving in the
real estate sector. These new tools are making it easier, faster and more
convenient for people to find, tour and put offers on properties from anywhere
in the world. And while virtual experiences may not yet have completely replaced
all the benefits of an in-person visit, the impact the rapidly improving
technology is having is well worth noting.
A late 2017
study by Redfin including
more than 1,500 people who purchased a home in the last year reported that 35
percent of them made an offer without physically visiting the property. That
number was up from 33 percent last May, and 19 percent in 2016. Millennials are even more open to the idea, with 45
percent saying they had made an offer sight-unseen in 2017.
might have been unthinkable just a short time ago is now a growing trend,
thanks to VR’s computer-generated simulations of three-dimensional images or
spaces to engage users in highly realistic, replicated experiences, and AR’s ability
to blend the simulated with the real. VR typically involves the use of a
headset or goggles to achieve that fully-immersed feeling, while AR works by
overlaying different images and options on actual views.
We asked a few to
share some insights:
“We routinely use an app called HomeSnap with an AR component built into
it. Basically, one aims a phone’s camera at any property within the boundaries
of our MLS system, snaps an image and waits for the property history to
populate. It will bring up all county records on the property — anything
from current price, last sold price or confirmation that it has not yet been
listed. Our clients love it because they can use it all over town.
for us on the brokerage side of things, HomeSnap will link with Waze, and if
there are any shoppers in the area, the address of my listing will pop up and
show the prospective buyer how to get to it. We’re reaching more people in new
and faster ways, but even the simplest of technology is making a difference,
With our short supply and multiple-offer market, we are more and more
frequently closing transactions with the help of FaceTime. Last year alone, I
think we closed four transactions which started with a FaceTime showing.
been using HD photography for years now, but it has recently been augmented
with virtual staging capabilities. Vacant corporate inventory can instantly
become furnished at a fraction of the cost of traditional staging, and without
the potential damage that can happen when moving in and out. It gives
online shoppers a mental image of how the property flows for them. All of this
is about making the employee’s time more productive. Right now, we have at
least three if not four AI-based services coming into our market with even more
ideas about how to make the home buying and selling process faster and more
efficient. Disruption is daily.”
have been using Matterport as
an additional listing tool to showcase those special properties, where even the
best photography does not adequately convey the essence of the home. We’ve long
known the power that high-quality images have in attracting online shoppers,
but now we can immerse them in a completely different experience, with 360-degree
tours that really give you the sense of being there.
It’s a whole new way of showing, and once a consumer connects with a property like that, it’s much more likely to become their next home.”
We just launched a new
product called Curate by Sotheby’s International RealtySM. Using Google’s ARCore and the power of roOomy’s
virtual staging, it gives homebuyers the option to scan and
visualize the space with a variety of curated designs and styles. If they like what
they see, they can find out where to purchase the item right then and there. They
can share the images on social, interacting with other family members or
friends while touring the space."
“The emerging technologies of VR and AR will have a huge impact on
the real estate industry. While we’re not quite there yet, I’m certain that in
the not-too-distant future, many more clients will be able to throw on a set of
goggles and preview homes from just about anywhere. For now, AR is allowing us
to successfully bridge traditional staging with digitally enhanced, staged
still photos for a very cool, interactive client experience. Letting them
visualize options through a tablet screen while standing in the room itself really
takes showings to the next level.
Right now, it still requires some upfront prep work on our end, as
there’s no magic, ‘all-in-one solution’ yet. But I’m confident a much more
practical, user-friendly application is right around the corner. The next phase
will likely allow clients the ability to upload photos of their own furnishings
to see exactly how they’ll look and work in the new space.”
“Our firm is successfully using AR to virtually stage a variety of
vacant properties. The technology is helping us realize two important business
We had a recent case in which AR helped us
transform a highly neutral, mid-range property that was on the market for some
time. The seller was reluctant to invest in traditional staging tactics, but
once we added that virtual layer, helping digital researchers envision its true
potential, it sold in less than two weeks.
Right now, we’re using AR to virtually stage one of our more
unique listings. Its main dwelling is over 4,400 square feet, and it rests on
close to 10.5 acres — with nearly 8 of them housing award-winning vineyards. It
is currently vacant — but the costs and risks of physically staging a property
of that size and stature are not insignificant. Yet, even the highest-end
properties don’t show as well when they are vacant. AR technology allows
us to present this property in its very best digital light, with furnishings
that are appropriate — in both size and style — to the home itself, and
attractive to the unique needs of the potential buyers who are searching this
The bottom line is that we are continually looking at ways to
embrace cutting-edge technology for better client experiences — across the
board. As rapid advancements in both VR and AR capabilities emerge, I’m certain
that we’ll see increasingly bigger impacts on the real estate industry.”
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