Virtual reality is propelling us into the future, and here's why.
Far from being the stuff of science fiction novels and films, VR is intrinsically linked to many aspects of our lives, from video games to culture and art and education. Architects are able to harness VR to visualise spaces, collaborating in real-time with their clients.
Forward-thinkers in the real estate industry are seeing the benefits of VR first-hand. With the onset of the pandemic, some estate agents sought new ways to show properties to their clients, and VR held the key. Among its many benefits, VR enables agents to safely present their properties. Those smart enough to identify this growing trend saw their viewings grow exponentially during the lockdown."
Buyers can use VR headsets for an immersive viewing experience of any property, built or unbuilt.
In fact, VR technology is poised to change the way consumers buy a home, according to HSBC’s Beyond the Bricks study. It has already started to impact the three key phases of property buying: research, finance, and purchase.
With more than 9,000 participants from nine countries, the study found that UK home buyers are the most digitally active, particularly when conducting a search for their ideal property. Of the UK respondents, 93% turn to online channels to inspect properties in the comfort of their homes.
One of the primary ways to showcase VR technology in the real estate sector is through 3D virtual tours.
What 3D Virtual Tours?
A 3D virtual tour, or a 3D walkthrough, enables real estate agents to showcase complex environments and aspects of a property in great detail. It utilises computer-generated imagery to deliver a 360-degree view of a property. It can be used for both existing properties and properties that haven’t been built yet.
3D virtual tours allow both agents and potential buyers to visualise what a property looks when unfurnished or in combination with their chosen furniture and fixtures. Other technologies enable users to go beyond a simple 3D virtual tour and fully interact with the property, giving potential buyers the ability to immerse themselves in the digital space, with the option of opening and closing doors, arranging furniture and exploring rooms in greater detail. Potential buyers will be able to open and close doors, arrange furniture, and explore rooms in detail.
Benefits of 3D Virtual Tours
With 3D virtual tours, agents and potential buyers can carry out viewings without setting foot in the property. Aside from being a safer and more practical alternative in this day and age, it has plenty of other benefits, such as the following:
Save time and reduce costs
For real estate agents, 3D virtual tours save hours throughout their workweek, eliminating the need to visit property after property and waiting on doorsteps for clients to arrive. The same thing applies to potential buyers, who can look at an in-depth rendering of a property from the convenience of their homes before they view the property in person.
Increase website traffic
Utilising innovative technology helps agents attract more clients. 3D virtual tours are usually hosted by a streaming service ensuring they can be accessed across all kinds of devices. This encourages them to spend more time on the company site, thus driving more online traffic.
Gain a competitive edge
By adopting this new technology, real estate agents stand to gain an edge over the competition. It helps businesses stand out in the saturated real estate industry. Moreover, with Millennials and Gen Z now taking up a larger percentage of home buyers, there’s a growing demand for real estate services to become virtual and mobile-friendly.
Deliver a more realistic experience
3D virtual tours provide potential buyers with a more immersive experience of the property. It makes it easier for them to visualise what it would be like to live there.
A still image CGI captured from a 3D virtual tour.
What Are 360 Virtual Tours?
Photographic or 360 virtual tours are created by stitching together many 360 images that are taken at a property. Commonly used for properties that are already built, 360 virtual tours provide a more static view of a property. Viewers can use their mouse to rotate in all directions or go from one room to another. They can also zoom in on any area within the scene.
A 360 virtual tour is still an interactive way to view a property, albeit with limited functionality. It also entails an actual visit to the property for it to be scanned by a photographer.
3D vs. 360 Virtual Tours
Which virtual tour you decide to use will very much depend on the project and property in question. With new homes, 3D virtual tours have considerable advantages. Property developers can begin marketing a development months before it is built, which creates a distinct competitive advantage. Reaching a wide audience of domestic and foreign buyers with immersive viewings of an unbuilt property helps reduce the project’s financial risk with more off-plan sales.
Compared to a 360 tour, 3D virtual tours offer a more realistic sense of a property’s size and perspective. Viewers can look at a home’s interior and exterior and gain a better understanding of its scale and dimensions.
Meanwhile, 360 virtual tours utilise static images with a more panoramic view of a space. This gives viewers the impression that they’re looking at a spherical image. As 360 tours are photos that have been stitched they naturally depict a more realistic scene but do not allow for any in-scene interactivity.
3D virtual tours are much more versatile, as they can be used for both built and unbuilt properties. Tour creators can get details from the property’s development team to create a rendering of the space — all without needing to step into the actual property. This technology can also be used for properties at the pre-completion stage, enabling developers to envision the final outcome with ease.
Being able to visualise a space through realistic rendering helps real estate agents, developers, and potential buyers make better and more informed decisions. Best of all, these immersive walkthroughs can be experienced from the safety and convenience of one’s home.
Check out a 3d virtual tour of a luxury new build townhouse by following this link.