Virtual reality (VR) has been touted as a technology that will propel us into the future.
Far from being the stuff of science fiction novels and films, VR has already been incorporated into many aspects of our daily lives, from video games to culture and education. It is used in architecture as well, enabling architects to better visualise a space and present it to their clients.
VR has also made its way into the real estate industry and has become a popular and safer way to view properties as of late, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 in terms of 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 CGI virtual tours.
What Are CGI Virtual Tours?
A CGI 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.
CGI 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. More advanced technology available even let users virtually interact with the property. Potential buyers will be able to open and close doors, arrange furniture, and explore rooms in detail.
Benefits of CGI Virtual Tours
With CGI virtual tours, agents and potential buyers can carry out a viewing even without setting foot on the actual 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:
Saves time and reduces costs
For real estate agents, CGI virtual tours eliminate the need to drive from one place to another to showcase a property. The same thing applies to potential buyers, who can look at an in-depth rendering of a property from the convenience of their homes.
Helps increase website traffic
Utilising innovative technology helps agents attract more clients. This encourages them to spend more time on the company site, thus driving more online traffic.
Gives 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.
Delivers a more realistic experience
CGI 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.
What Are Photographic Virtual Tours?
Commonly used for properties that are already built, photographic 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 an image.
A photographic 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.
CGI vs. Photographic Virtual Tours
Compared to a photographic tour, CGI 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, photographic 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.
CGI virtual tours are also 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.