I’ve done virtual keynotes for many real estate conferences in the past year and one of the key trends I’ve noted has been the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
High-contact industries are among those that can benefit the most from VR and AR technology
Prior to the pandemic, virtual property tours weren’t uncommon, but most individuals still preferred to see property in person. Today, that mindset has shifted, with countless buyers turning to virtual property tours first, before committing to see a home in person. Virtual tours have their roots in the computer gaming industry, providing the residential sector with the ability to use 3D and in some cases, VR headsets, to help bring spaces and surrounding areas to life.
While COVID has certainly been the most urgent and immediate factor influencing the rise in VR real estate tours, it’s not the only one. As Millennials and Gen Z become a larger percentage of home buyers, the demand for virtual and mobile real estate services is increasing. These generations have come to expect virtual options for nearly everything, and home buying is no exception.
The next evolution of virtual tours
One of the most advanced companies to bring virtual tours to the masses is Guided Virtual Tours, a rapidly-expanding Tampa-based startup.
Guided Virtual Tours is different from other virtual tour platforms—unlike traditional virtual tours that require users to click through to different points, this solution guides the prospect through the tour, selling the property just like an agent would. There’s no clicking from point to point or dragging to see different perspectives.
Instead, the prospect sits back and looks around as the VR leasing agent takes them through the tour.
In addition, this platform is also the first proactive touring solution in the industry. Because these virtual tours can be posted on a property manager’s YouTube or social profiles, it can automatically generate new leads while giving tours 24 hours a day.
Founder Chris Vasilakis, an American Mensa member and Marine Corps combat vereran, has a deep background in VR, having implemented it in various scenarios—including hip-hop artist management.
After founding multiple startups in different industries, he eventually went all in on virtual reality with Guided Virtual Tours.
According to Vasilakis, tours on his platform can be created at an affordable price, which hasn’t always been the case. “This is the future of touring all properties, allowing thousands of prospects to tour each day while reducing the need for human leasing agents,” he says. “It’ll be global—and it’s going to change the industry.”
It’s safe to say that virtual reality has enormous benefits for the year to come as our real estate landscape recovers and adapts to what I believe will be a big business boom in the near future