How VR is changing the real estate industry

Most consumer facing industries have experienced a huge shake up by innovative technologies in the past decade. Despite this, the lending industry is notorious for falling behind the demand of its savvy consumers when it comes to embracing innovations in PropTech.

One of the technologies that has huge potential to disrupt and transform the business of Real Estate is Virtual Reality (VR). VR technology is commonly associated to the gaming and entertainment industries, and makes use of goggles and headsets synced to computers or mobile devices to provide viewers with a surreal perspective that makes them feel like part of the image they see.

Virtual Reality technology has become more widely accessible since March 2014 when Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg invested a considerable amount of funding into Oculus, the market leader in VR headsets. Devices are now available in a variety of styles and budgets, and the supporting software is becoming increasingly sophisticated.

Gene Munster, Tech Analyst, believes VR is currently used at least once a month by more than 20 million people, and he expects that number will reach as many as 50 million by the end of 2017, and 1 billion by 2023, creating an increased market saturation that will force technology companies to create readily accessible devices that suit wider audiences.

While uptake has been fairly slow in the real estate industry so far, Goldman Sachs estimates that virtual reality software for real estate applications will be a $2.6 billion market by 2025.

Armed with the right equipment, VR enables agents to set up a live stream and invite potential clients from all over the world for a viewing. This transforms online viewings beyond static photographs to provide consumers with an accurate experience of the property.

How virtual reality benefits the real estate industry

  • Collaborative and adaptable: VR technology provides a highly collaborative and shareable experience between devices. It can be easily integrated into existing mobile platforms and apps at a relatively low price.
  • Reduces time and resource: VR enables all parties to set up viewings more properties in less  time than ever before.
  • Speeds up processes: VR reduces barriers and enabling crucial decisions to be made quickly to create a more efficient and streamlined process.
  • Improves expectations: Translating interior design or architectural concepts can be complicated to many. VR creates a tailor-made customisable experience that can be interpreted by all parties.

 Virtual Reality is still very much in its infancy, and many realtors are yet to offer consumers with viewings in this format. With the rate at which technology develops, and the ever increasing consumer demand for tech integration – particularly from the next generation of home buyers, it’s not hard to imagine a world where the entire home buying process: from the initial viewing right through to making an offer, signing papers and to closing a deal – is carried out in virtual reality.

According to the 2017 Borrower Insights Survey of homeowners and renters conducted by mortgage automation provider Ellie Mae, 40 percent of homeowners would have prefered a faster mortgage process with fewer delays. As advances in PropTech pave the way for consumers to benefit from improved Real Estate services, those organizations that fail to recognize the benefits, risk being left behind.