With the world constantly changing, a real estate agent must always find new ways to make themselves stand out from the pack.
The internet age has seen an oversaturation of the industry, with websites like realestate.com.au giving home buyers an almost infinite number of agencies to choose from, and companies such as PurpleBricks now pushing the boundaries.
Utilizing new advancements in technology can help push an agent right to the forefront of a buyer’s mind, and right now Virtual Reality is the next big innovation that is set to change the industry.
Virtual reality is a three dimensional, computer generated environment that is projected off an iPhone or Samsung and then viewed through a headset. The headset gives the wearer the feeling as though they are seeing the image through their own eyes, with the environment changing when they turn their heads.
VR captured the attention of the mainstream public back in 2010 when the Oculus Rift was released to widespread fanfare and now tech giants Google, Samsung and Microsoft have followed suit by releasing their own VR headset models.
But it is the ability to project a lifelike image that should capture an agent’s attention.
Josh Anderson of TrueVR photography, an Adelaide based company that specializes in using virtual reality for open inspections, explained to SA Real Estate News how the technology can be used to compile a virtual reality tour of a property.
“We have a special camera that takes 360® shots and measurements at the same time of the whole house, starting at one end and working our way to the other. Once we have finished that process of going through the house and taking the shots and measurements, that gets processed and the photos get stitched together which creates the VR tour.” He said.
“The VR tour itself can be viewed in a few different ways like on a smartphone, tablet or a computer where you can click through the house and look 360®. The other way to view it is through a VR headset and that is the most immersive way and is something that really makes you feel very close to being in the space.”
Mr. Anderson believes that utilizing the technology can completely transform the way an agent does business.
“The idea of (agents) having a conversation of wanting to see the property with buyers, that conversation really ends at ‘this is when the open is’,” Anderson said.
“With VR it gives them the opportunity to build that relationship, bring people in and meet with them face to face and give them a good look at the property. If they have a potential buyer, particularly one that has not seen VR before, they are going to pretty much wow them straight away and that is where the relationship is really going to be built.”
But where VR is going to give an agent the jump ahead of the rest of the competition is the convenience for the buyer, particularly from overseas investors who would otherwise not be able to make the open inspection.
“There are lots of opens on every weekend so buyers cannot always make them all, or they are working or they have geographical constraints where they won’t be able to make it across the other side of town on time,” he said.
“So it expands their market to anyone really, and gives anyone in the world a good look at their property.”
REA Group have a serious interest in what VR can do for the industry with the goal being to eventually have VR incorporated on every listing within the next 5 years.
Mr. Anderson said that it would be of great benefit, with buyers likely to spend more time looking at a listing by using the tour to take a look through the house.
“There is some pretty good data out their showing that it increases the amount of time people spend on listings and increases the engagement with the actual agent. It is still really new and is something that agents are just discovering, but the more that happens the more demand there is going to be for the technology.”
Real estate has always been an industry that is ahead of the curve when it comes to being innovative, and Mr. Anderson believes that VR will continue to push the boundaries.
“Real estate is innovative and it always has been,” Mr. Anderson said.
“When websites like realestate.com.au and Domain came out the industry adapted to it, so I think it does look good for the company to be innovative and to have that type of quality content for the property will increase its value.”
As part of their service, TrueVR Photography offer a free headset when an agency signs on to use them.
“Any agent that comes to me for the first time if they book us to do a tour, I will give them a headset so that if they get any enquiries about that particular property (the buyer) can get a good look.”
To get in contact with TrueVR about using their services, their details can be found here.