Virtual Reality finds compelling use cases in the real estate industry. In real estate, bringing to life a place and space matter (also, location, location, location!). In virtual reality, immersion helps simulate a sense of place and space. It’s a perfect pairing.
We wrote a guide to to help outline the best use cases for virtual reality in real estate, considerations for the user experience, and steps for producing and distributing virtual real estate content. Happy reading!
Virtual Tours of Existing Properties
Showcase a property with immersive 360° VR content that transports a user to the property. String together 360° VR photos or videos to create a tour experience that makes an image slideshow look flat.
Visualization Tool for Unfinished Properties
Selling a property before it’s built is difficult. By providing customers with a tool to fully view and experience a given property, realtors can boost customer confidence in the what the property can be and make the sale. Virtual reality in real estate can actually give customers confidence by making a property feel more real.
Physical staging of rooms is expensive (yet effective). Virtual staging keeps the effectiveness of showing a room lived-in with furniture and decor without the price. It works by using 3D objects of furniture overlaid onto a 3D capture of a room.
User Access: VR Headset, Smartphone, Desktop
When you build your virtual real estate content, think about your customer first. One of the most important considerations in VR is how customers are accessing this content. The three main options are: VR Headset, Desktop, Smartphone
- Pro: This provides customers with a fully immersive experience and is your best bet for providing a complete feel of what a property is like. Wearing a VR headset guarantees deep engagement, a wow factor, and the ability to really transport someone into another room. It’s immersive media at its finest.
- Con: Not every customer has a headset! And not every customer feels like committing to placing a headset on and entering an isolated environment.
- Recommendation: Use VR headsets if you can guide customers in-person to remove a little bit of the isolation. This can help the customer experience and boost sales effectiveness instead of creating an isolating virtual reality in real estate experience.
- Pro: Where the VR headset eliminates the need for a screen and enables a full sphere of vision, sometimes customers do research using the tools they know best: their computers/laptops and phones. VR content can be viewed on desktops as a 360° experience, in which the user clicks/drags through the content. A desktop provides a bigger screen (than a phone), which can help better illustrate the finer details of a given property. Interactive 360°
- Con: A desktop doesn’t allow for
- Recommendation: Ensure that you use VR Players to distribute your 360° VR experiences because customers with high buy intent or in the later stages of research may be using their desktop devices. Don’t miss out on them!
- Pro: Smartphones are ubiquitous and with users consuming content like news, email, and even movies on them, virtual reality real estate content can be accessed the same way. Smartphones also enable dynamic exploration of 360° VR content through rotating and swiveling the phone to uncover more content. The smartphone screen operates as a portal window.
- Con: Phone screens are small and may not give the proper justice to a finely virtually staged property.
- Recommendation: Optimize content for smartphone use and encourage users to view in more detail via VR headset or desktop through Calls to Action on your content.
360° VR production doesn’t need to be daunting. A 360° camera, shooting tips and hotspot tools do the trick. For more premium experiences, VR companies offer production services for virtual reality in real estate that is used in market today.
For Virtual Tours:
- Keep it simple by investing in a high-quality 360° camera (see our camera recommendations here) and capturing photo or video of your property
- Build interactive hotspots to create a tour experience that puts the user in control of what they see and when
- Virtual Xperience is a company that visualizes under-construction buildings in its finished form to help potential buyers and renters still get a feel for the finished product. It also enables customization and design
For Virtual Staging:
- roOomy offers virtual staging services by building 3D models of property rooms and either staging it with 3D models themselves or allowing customers to design a room with roOomy’s 3D assets
- Embed 360° VR content on website using a Player solution
- Optimize for mobile so users who are viewing on smartphones or smartphone VR headsets
- Launch an ad campaign that repurposes your 360° VR content to advertise a given realtor or property