Potentials of Virtual Reality in Real Estate

Housing, property and real estate have been early adopters in the virtual reality (VR) market. Used as a tool at the point of sale (PoS), VR helps buyers and vendors among others to optimize and shorten the sales processes.

Advantages are equally split between industry and customer

Long distances and tight schedules made it difficult for visitors to inspect different places in another city and as this broke down the amount of time a vendor personally spends with its client onsite, estate agents lost one of their biggest advantages over online portals: the personal experience.

„Virtual Reality offers unimagined chances for the real estate industry. Three-dimensional simulation allows us to present different real estate objects in a realistic scenario from one showroom while they are miles away in the real world.“

Dirk Christoph, Managing Director Innoactive Digital Realities GmbH

In VR, one can visit an unlimited amount of different locations from anywhere in the world and still gets a real life feeling for spatial conditions. Not only does this give a high degree of convenience to the visitor but provides the industry with a particularly useful selling tool as well. It addresses a broader audience, as more prospective tenants or buyers will be able to inspect the property without being physically present. Real estate agents and brokers benefit from the innovative character of the technology as they try to pitch their skills to property developers. Developers and construction companies look for the fastest possible processing in sales and VR offers a quick and handy solution to put their projects up for sale. Furthermore, VR simplifies the process of advertising and selling additional features such as balconies, terraces or pools. This sums up to a win-win situation for the industry and the customer, as the client saves time and effort and is more likely to find an appropriate object.

From breaking ground to redecoration

Using VR to improve the classic onsite visit of an object is just one way to gain a competitive edge in this industry. It starts way before the first cut of the spade has even been made and extends to renovation and reprocessing of housing and real estate. Architects and design offices will be able to give clients an immersive impression of how properties will look and feel years before completion and minimize the margin for errors prior to the actual construction. Even construction companies benefit from the potential VR has to offer. Tours through cost-intensive and stationary prefabricated houses are no longer necessary to give customers an impression for the look and feel of his new home. Throughout the lifecycle of a building or property it is more than likely that it’ll undergo a major renovation or reconstruction. VR concepts hereby offer opportunities to change and modify the existing structure and its interior in every shape or form. These advantages offer a much easier way for clients to visualize and adapt to the outcome of a costly renovation.

Tailor made VR Solutions for the Point of Sale

To be successfully implemented, a new technology such as VR has to meet specific requirements of an industry. It has to be available, quick and reliable and offer a convincing benefit. Not many companies have the capacities to create and set up their own VR solutions. We at Innoactive offer comprehensive approaches to point of sale solutions. Designed as an easy-to-use, end-to-end solution, it allows setting up an individual VR Showroom experience with specified content. The technical layout requires no further specialization to run the setup and all the components are pre-installed and easy to run for the PoS staff. These are more than theoretical concepts; they have already proven their efficiency in real-life scenarios. Since October 2015, customers of the Saturn stores in Ingolstadt and Berlin are able to use a VR simulation to look at and modify Kiveda kitchens. They can change surfaces and colors, and the attached electronic store offers different models of household appliances. In future, we will extend this to an immersive shopping experience, where it’ll be possible to purchase these items through a virtual store. If you want to see by yourself how such an experience would look like, you already can get an impression by taking a tour through our virtual apartment, which is fully configurable and adaptable.

How does it work

Let’s have a look on how a virtual tour through a building of an apartment is done. First, a combination of laser-scanning, 360 degree capturing equipment and CAD models is used to set up virtual models of a property. In the post-production process this data is converted into a photorealistic reproduction of the real object. Meshing these techniques ensures a quick and high quality virtualization of any object. With the help of a new generation of HMD’s (head-mounted display), the customer will now be able to get an immersive and realistic feeling of how an object looks like, independently from time and space. They can virtually move through an entire apartment or house by the touch of a button, change and modify parts of the interior with just a swipe. Depending on the requirements of a real estate agent or property developer, it is possible to scale the effort put into the visualization of different projects. By using CGI techniques, which are more time consuming than a simple 3D-Scan, it is possible to create an exclusive, detailed and concerted approach to a particular project. This would be an effective way to promote constructions prior the building phase and complex renovations. If time is a decisive factor, like for existing apartments and buildings, a 3D-Scan or 360° tour would be the more efficient approach. It’s less cost intensive and the quick realization allows it to put objects on the market in a minimum of time.

Will VR be the future of retail and real estate?

At the time, VR is mostly used in the high-price segment of luxury homes but experts believe that VR has the potential to be the norm in real estate in just a few years as costs will trickle down and HMD’s will be more mainstream than today. Furthermore, the evolution of content and technology over the next years will make the experience more relevant for a wider audience.