Virtual Reality Used to Sell Properties
Virtual reality continues to become more popular amongst companies that are looking to market their properties. It’s becoming especially prevalent in London as many investors typically live thousands of miles away from the properties that they want to look at it.
The usage of virtual reality with properties is already said to be a $1 billion industry across the world. Goldman Sachs predicts that it will grow leaps and bounds in the years to come.
Google Cardboard is a simple box that has two lenses and doesn’t cost much. The headset is an “untethered device” or in other words as James Desrsley, the Founder of Digital Marketing Bureau and a property technology expert, said, that “basically means there are no wires attached to the unite. You stream the virtual experience through your mobile phone. Mobile VR units like this and Samsung Gear are far more accessible to the general public as we all have mobile phones we can just slot in. These devices are drive by ease and convenience.”
The Oculus Rift, on the other hand, is much more intricate and is a “tethered device” as it has to connect to a PC to give a realistic experience.
Dearsley said, “The experiences delivered are quite phenomenal. You really get the feel that you are in the apartment you are buying – even if it doesn’t actually exist yet.”
It’s hard to imagine very rich people wearing a cheap toy like device on their head (i.e. – Google Cardboard) or a bulky headset/mask like device on their heads. However, virtual reality enables people to have a great solution to view properties when they aren’t able to go see the properties in person due to time constraints or whatever it may be.
1508 London is an interior design studio whom created a Cardboard tour for Chesham Place. One of the partners at 1508 London, Hamish Brown, said, “It will be especially beneficial for our international projects in the Middle East to build an even closer rapport with clients. For those who don’t have the time to attend a property during the design process, virtual reality allows us to deliver the viewing experience in clients’ own time. It can also offer the experience of completed interiors to give an idea of the atmosphere of the spaces, colour palettes and even lighting choices.”
Strutt & Parker, real estate agents, have been letting potential buyers go on “3D walkthroughs” in their luxurious properties. Kevin Powell, Strutt & Parker’s Head of Digital, said, “Our buyers love this service and it works for most people as a first virtual viewing, it’s particularly useful for international clients.”
Virtual reality is also being used with properties that aren’t built yet.
Notting Hill Sales utilizes Google Cardboard to enable buyers to see their Royal Albert Wharf in East London.
Battersea Power Station is also offering a virtual reality experience at its showroom that allows potential buyers can see an entire new neighborhood that’s being built. Georgia Siri is Battersea Power Station Development Company’s UK Sales Director. She said, “this experience offers our visitors the ability to step into this new world for the first time and imagine really living or working there, several years before completion.”
In the UK, Manhattan Loft Corporation is the only company using the Oculus Rift for their potential buyers to be able to view their properties.
Open Houses in the virtual world are now a thing too. Sellmyhome .co.uk began using virtual walkthrough technology to advertise some f their open houses. Nick Marr, associate at TheHouseShop, said, “The great thing about using this type of new live streaming technology is that buyers from all over the UK, and even overseas, can get an accurate and detailed view of the property. Even better, they can ask questions directly to the homeowner as they move around the property.”
Royce Pinkwater, founder of Pinkwater Select, a New York agency, said, “If done at the very highest level, virtual reality can create excitement about a product, not just show it more realistically. We are working with VR experts in the movie business who use special effects and storytelling to engage buyers’ interest. Combine this with a younger generation of wealth who are at ease with technology and who are increasingly willing to buy property with its aid and you have a blockbuster sales tool.”