Seeing is Believing: Enhancing Real Estate with VR & AR Technology

A person holding a tablet that is using VR to record a home tour.

The way we experience products pre-purchase is changing, and we have two types of technology to thank for that: VR and AR.

When potential buyers browse listings online, high-quality photos and videos are among the first things they look for. Not only do these visuals provide an excellent overview of what a property looks like and what it has to offer, but they also offer an element of convenience as they either encourage or discourage an in-person viewing. However, with advancing technology, real estate agents can now offer an online viewing experience that transcends mere two-dimensional browsing.

With the immersive 360-degree perspectives that VR allows and the ability to superimpose different interiors and infographics via AR, potential buyers have the luxury of touring properties across the globe in a more visceral and impactful way.

Furthermore, the real estate agents that employ these technologies also enjoy significant rewards and benefits. They can offer more satisfying customer experiences, increased sales, and a sharper competitive edge in the industry.

Defining VR and AR – what are they, and where do they fit in the real estate world?

Before jumping into the relationship between VR and AR and the world of property marketing, let us pause for a moment to discuss what these forms of technologies actually are and how they are shaping the future of all marketing sub-industries, not just the real estate one.

VR stands for Virtual Reality, and it is a technology that creates immersive, 360-degree simulated digital experiences. By employing pose tracking and 3D near-eye displays, VR can give users the immersive experience of being in a simulated world—one that can be programmed to take on both fictional and real environments, including that of a listed property.

AR stands for Augmented Reality, which is a similar form of technology that combines live, real environments (often captured by a smartphone) with digitally superimposed elements or objects added to augment a user’s visual experience. Think Pokémon GO, but for property!

Both VR and AR technology can enhance digital real estate walkabouts and tours by providing a more immersive experience for clients, regardless of where they are geographically located. This technology adds a more real feel to the viewing and offers a significantly more interactive exploration experience than a video or photographs can.

Being able to explore a property without being physically present also means that a real estate business can tap into a much wider market and expand its reach.

Different ways VR and AR can be utilized for audience immersion

The immersive nature of VR combined with the interactivity enabled by AR means that every prospective buyer can be guided through a wide range of property options without leaving home. At the same time, they will enjoy a cutting-edge technological experience that is still considered a novelty in 2024.

Thanks to these technologies, buyers can get a feel for real estate that is even more immersive and informative than what real life offers, representing a new chapter in real estate marketing.

Let us zoom in for a moment on the touchpoints of VR and AR technology and the many ways these tools can be used for more impactful and success-driven real estate experiences.

  1. Guided tours and walkabouts

The first and most popular way to utilize VR and AR as a real estate marketing tool is to use the technology to create guided property tours. The full scope of vision that VR provides, coupled with the digital pointers and enhancements of AR, means that prospective buyers receive a much more valuable and informative viewing experience.

  1. Neighborhood exploration

The surrounding neighborhood and community of a property are of vital importance to buyers. They want to know that the area they are potentially moving to has everything they need to set themselves up for a comfortable, safe, and satisfying living experience.

VR and even aerial or drone video tours can help potential buyers gain a much broader and more immersive perspective on the surrounding area of a property, enhancing their sense of comfort and familiarity with it.

  1. Environmental familiarity

Familiarity and trust are powerful emotions to associate with a property you are considering buying. And for many potential homeowners, they are an absolute priority. An immersive tour experience can help people gain a much better sense of the property’s depth, spaciousness, light filtration, livability, and general atmosphere.

  1. Furniture and home decor visualization

Digital visualization is a powerful and exciting result of AR technology. Able to superimpose digital objects such as furniture and home decor into existing property listings, prospective buyers can begin personalizing spaces in a way that simply is not possible with just the mind’s eye. This takes staging a home to the next level, as it allows buyers to do it themselves. 

For real estate agents, helping clients visualize the space as they might want to decorate or kit out their homes is a very compelling method for boosting buyability.

  1. Dynamic house viewing experiences

Overall, what VR and AR offer is a more dynamic and integrative property viewing experience. With guided tours, neighborhood familiarization, and interior visualization, buyers can be both excited and put at ease by their digital viewing.

What advantages do VR and AR technology offer the real estate marketing industry?

Technology trends may come and go, but VR and AR are already becoming fundamental mechanisms of the marketing industry – and statistics say they are here to stay. According to Statista, AR and VR market user numbers will reach 3,674 million by 2028, and user penetration rate will increase from 52.8% to 55.9%.

Immersiveness is almost always a great quality of product advertisement. But in what measurable ways do VR and AR technologies actually benefit the real estate marketing sphere—from both a client’s and agent’s perspective? Six points are expanded on below.

  1. Makes real estate agents more competitive

VR and AR are both technological forerunners in today’s fast-paced world. Businesses that adapt to and implement these technologies are the ones likely to succeed in the coming years.

Just as companies that embraced digital marketing and social media in the mid-2000s capitalized on that market before it exploded, real estate agents now have the opportunity to implement VR and AR technologies. If they do so now, they can do so before competitors catch on to their growth potential throughout the 2020s and far beyond.

  1. Increases the probability of a sale

The more engaging and immersive a buyer’s browsing experience of a listed property is, the more likely they are to follow up with an in-person viewing or make an offer. This makes VR and AR powerful tools for motivating purchases and incentivizing new clients to explore what is available.

  1. Expands audience reach

Real estate agents that exclusively offer in-person viewings are drastically limiting their audience reach. These days, realty professionals need a way to showcase their properties to people all over the world, thus expanding their audience reach and increasing sales potential.

Whether clients are looking for property in Santa Barbara or Saskatchewan, they should be able to do so from Alabama, Australia, and everywhere in between. VR and AR technology allow every potential buyer the opportunity to explore a property from the comfort of their own home, no matter what their geographical location.

  1. Drives online attention

VR and AR are hot topics in the social media sphere at present, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. This puts real estate agents who offer these kinds of virtual experiences at the epicenter of online discussions, threads, and searches.

Being able to direct traffic to social media platforms and websites is crucial for securing a wide client base and motivating sales—and using virtual technologies can support those ambitions.

  1. Boosts client satisfaction

40% of prospective real estate buyers find VR tours to be very helpful. Not only do these types of tours allow them to examine the properties they are interested in more closely, but they also allow them to review a number of options quickly, conveniently, and without having to physically travel.

This aspect of VR and AR real estate marketing allows clients to have a much more convenient and satisfying overall experience. Furthermore, AR’s function of being able to show people the design and atmospheric potential of a property can deliver a more in-depth and thorough walkabout tour.

  1. Offers clients an instant sense of ownership

The ability to explore, modify, and closely examine a property from a VR perspective creates a personalized connection that is not always possible with photos or videos. Personalized consumer experiences are one of the most effective tools for conversion on the market today, and both VR and AR technology can accommodate this.

The more clients are encouraged to feel comfortable in the properties they view online, the more likely they are to associate a pre-emptive sense of ownership with it, thus driving up the likelihood of a sale.

The bottom line

Virtual reality and augmented reality are two of the strongest driving forces in contemporary real estate marketing techniques. Offering real estate agents more flexibility and reach and clients more personalization and immersion, utilizing these technologies as tools is a win-win situation for everyone involved.

As the metaverse and other immersive viewing technologies evolve, companies that utilize them are more likely to rise above competitors and establish themselves as frontrunners in the real estate field. 

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