I am sitting here in Starbucks, sipping my usual large macchiato, and an architect hands me a Virtual Reality (VR) handset with a smartphone. Suddenly the cafe disappears. And I am transported to Miami, inside a luxurious apartment. From here I can see the condo towers and oh my… the water views from my apartment windows are spectacular!

I venture a foot forward towards the pool area. I have a menu to choose the time of the day. Would I prefer to be mesmerized by the shimming rays bounding off the gently rippling waters of the pool, or perhaps revel in the tranquil sparkling water under a full moon? Since the menu seemed enticing, I was just about to choose when I hear the voice of my architect.

I take off my glasses and I am unceremoniously dumped back in the bustling cafe. The memories linger however, and I can still feel the wonderful sensations in my body. My eyes are telling me that I have just walked across a wonderful poolside where I can feel the breeze on my skin, and the gentle protest of the lapping waters in my ears. But my body says that I am sitting in a café and drinking Coffee, oh and yes, I am just about to fall.

From the beautiful virtual Miami, my eyes are on the architect sitting right next to me. He is smiling. I smile back and walk away.

We know how frustrating it is to explore a prospective property by traveling hundreds of kilometers. But that is not the worst part; reality often hits us hard when we don’t even like the property we went to such pains for.

Well, not anymore. Say hello to Virtual Reality (VR) for the Real Estate industry! Now, you can easily view the property you aspire for with precise details. Not just the view, you can also feel each item with the help of Virtual Reality (VR).

Virtual Reality – fresh breath in Real Estate

Virtual Reality, which was once used in gaming and entertainment, is now being deployed in real estate.

Goldman Sachs estimates that by 2025, virtual reality software for real estate applications will be a $2.6bn market. Companies have jumped up on the opportunity to create websites for viewing homes in virtual reality, such as Transported and You Visit.

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Real estate agencies from Sotheby’s to Corcoran to Douglas Elliman have used this burgeoning technology to entice clients. According to Navarro, existing sites like Zillow will soon get on board the virtual reality bandwagon as the technology becomes more ubiquitous and hardware gets cheaper, allowing it to eventually trickle down to the non-luxury real estate market.

Limitations of the old-school Real Estate model

The current landscape model of real estate limited the options a consumer has while physically checking out homes and offices. But thanks to Virtual Reality, users can make more sense of what they are purchasing.

Now, users can garner a feel for what they are about to buy right from their homes. Real Estate agents, instead of spending money on the model of the home, can simply give the clients the same experience with the virtual reality mockups.

How is VR in Real Estate helping new Entrepreneurs?

At a time when wealthy foreign buyers are flooding the luxury markets in large cities like New York and London, by investing their money away from their volatile home countries, having a virtual reality set that can virtually transport prospective buyers to your property, takes away the burden of flying a buyer halfway across the world to see a model apartment. The novelty of walking through a virtual reality home adds to the allure. “It’s like Call of Duty, only without the killing part,” Navarro says with a grin.

As Entrepreneurs, we have the opportunity to use the power of moments to create memorable experiences for our customers. Everything that I have mentioned at the start can be done using a VR glass and an app!

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You can start with a digital marketing agency and ask them to create an app for your venture. This will give birth to your idea. Once the app is done, you can create virtual things within a week; things that would otherwise have taken years to build in real life.

A bathroom can be conjured up out of thin smoke in just a week. The paintings on the walls, fancy light fixtures, and furniture you choose to populate your property with, are all based on real items. Views are stitched in from actual photos taken at the height of the future condo. The smiling blonde model in the black dress is the only other element introduced into the virtual world that exists outside it.

All this is possible due to the advancement of VR technologies. You can use VR to transform your dull Real Estate startup into a memorable experience for your clients.

It is not just an experience; it is a whole new journey that you can take to give people hope, and in doing so, you can make some good money along the way.

November 15, 2017
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