Buyers Shop for Homes Virtually
The multisensory experiences of AR and VR are boosting sales of real estate projects by transporting buyer and builder into a virtual world. Nadine D’Souza takes a look.
Text: Nadine D’Souza
It is often said that home is not a place, but a feeling. Realizing the emotional impact a home can have on its inhabitants, real estate developers and agents are raising the bar for the way in which they present their projects to buyers.
When people buy property for personal use, they are not just purchasing land, building materials and construction services. A huge part of the investment involves the anticipation of a specific experience. Traditionally, in the real estate sector, buying properties has been more of a gamble. A buyer never really knows for sure how a finished project will realistically look.
Augmented reality and virtual reality engage multiple senses simultaneously, and display properties or projects in a realistic manner.Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that consists of layers of computer-generated enhancements placed on top of an existing reality, enabling a more meaningful experience through the ability to interact with it. For instance, AR is developed into the mobile app – Google Maps, in which in addition to providing realistic street views, it also includes a live feed from the phone camera to overlay walking directions on top of the real world.
Virtual reality (VR) is a complete immersion experience that shuts out the physical world using various devices. Users can transport themselves into various real worlds and imagined environments through VR. A recent example of VR is the experience offered by Framestore which allows users to enter the world of the popular TV show, Game of Thrones using a VR headset.
In the real estate space, using virtual 3D scanners, 360-degree images and virtual goggles, potential buyers can view their chosen properties. Such technology is based on the original plans and architectural designs of the project. But through it, users can view an as yet unfinished project, building or apartment without even visiting the place in question. AR and VR are currently the hot new trend in realty. The tech-savvy city of Bengaluru, in particular, is experiencing the highest demand for such technology in real estate.
AR and VR are run on technology that enables us to activate our senses of sight and sound at the same time. ‘Seeing is believing,’ especially for those new to property ownership or those looking to purchase under-development properties. Realtors can present projects in a modern and meaningful way, while also providing a high degree of clarity. The experience is not limited to just computer generated views, but includes imagery from various angles that enable viewers to explore inside the computer simulation.
The best thing about AR and VR is that users don’t have to be adept at technology to have the experience. AR is accessible through the download of a mobile app on your smartphone.
Realtors are using AR and VR as marketing tools to boost their sales. Exploring the ‘look and feel’ of a finished project during the decision-making process is more likely to cause buyers to seal the deal with a developer or agent. Customer satisfaction also rises when the delivery meets their expectation. For developers, an added benefit of such technology is the generation of data-driven insights that can give them clarity about what’s working and what needs to be improved.
The real estate industry is often riddled with errors and omissions that result in increasing costs. It thus makes sense to build virtually before starting the actual construction of a project. The rising popularity of AR and VR software and devices have made them more affordableand it’s both convenient and clever to present highly accurate representations of the purchases in which buyers are about to invest.