by Sydney Stone
It used to be that “staging” – which is the process of strategically decorating and furnishing an available property – was the best way to make a potential buyer feel like they were “at home” and help generate more interest and offers.
Now smart realtors have taken staging to a whole new level, utilizing augmented reality to let people tour a home (and even decorate it themselves) from the comfort of their laptop or mobile device.
The virtual and augmented reality for real estate business is expected to reach $2.6 billion by the year 2025, according to Goldman Sachs. It is forever changing the way people shop for homes, apartments, vacation rentals, and even home furnishings.
In this post, we’ll discuss what augmented reality is, how it’s being used in the real estate industry, and the benefits for realtors who choose to implement the technology.
What is augmented reality?
Many people get augmented reality (AR) confused with virtual reality (VR), but they are two very different types of technology. Virtual reality is achieved through the use of headsets and other IoT devices that totally immerse the user in an electronic 3-dimensional world, complete with 360-degree vision. This 3D world is created using special cameras and applications.
Augmented reality allows the user to change or enhance the pre-set virtual reality by adding virtual images and information. For example, Swedish design company IKEA has a virtual app that lets consumers see what their furniture will look like in their actual homes by simply selecting an item and then pointing their mobile device’s camera to the spot in their living room or bedroom where they want to place the item.
Augmented reality simply gives you the ability to change a virtual reality’s space.
What augmented reality tools are being utilized in real estate?
The main purpose of virtual reality in the real estate industry is to provide lifelike property tours from a laptop, desktop, tablet or mobile device. Augmented reality takes that experience a step further in the following ways.
Creation of dynamic & interactive digital brochures
Real estate professionals are utilizing augmented reality to superimpose text, information, and calls-to-action over images of the property, creating a virtual and dynamic electronic brochure. People viewing the AR presentation can click to call, click to chat, schedule an appointment, and more.
Creation of new digital objects
Architects, designers, and real estate agents can now design, decorate, and sell homes and apartments electronically before they are even built in the real world. This is a huge advancement in getting early buyers and investors in new projects as it can be really hard to get someone to invest a lot of money in something they can’t actually see.
Enhancement of real-life objects
Augmented Reality allows users to change the design of a room, selecting different furnishings, finishes, window treatments, and more. It’s the electronic version of staging that we discussed earlier in this article and it allows a potential buyer to decorate the space in their own personal taste and see what it would look like before ever actually stepping foot in the property.
What are the main benefits of augmented reality in real estate?
1. A better shopping experience
Augmented reality puts interested buyers inside the apartment or home via their laptop, computer or mobile device. This increases their desire to want to see the property in person as it lets them explore the home, the neighborhood, estimate their commute and more. They can decorate the space, get measurements, chat with the realtor, and schedule a real walkthrough.
2. Enhanced customer engagement
Studies show that when looking for real estate, consumers are much more likely to click on a listing with photos and even more so with a virtual tour. The added benefit of augmented reality takes them one step further into their potential new home or apartment. More clicks equals more time spent looking at a listing, increased interest, and a likelier chance of making an offer.
3. Increased efficiency
With virtual and augmented reality listings, realtors save time and money by only having to offer in-person home tours to those people who are really interested. Plus, in addition to giving them the experience of being inside the home before they’re ever actually inside the home, with the additional information overlays and interactive brochure design, realtors can pre-qualify renters and buyers before actually scheduling tours or open houses.
4. Enhanced listings
The visuals and interactive experience provided by VR and AR real estate apps enhance the listing experience with additional insights and real-time information. There are mobile apps with GPS-enabled technology that allow shoppers to be alerted to available properties when they’re in a certain neighborhood. The user can simply move their mobile camera around and see what the inside of an apartment or home looks like while they’re standing outside.
5. New Marketing Opportunities
Geo tagging, interactive and print-on-demand brochures, QR scanning, and virtual tour signage are all new ways realtors are using AR to market to consumers. This is especially beneficial for mobile applications, as more and more people are using their mobile devices to shop for everything, including homes and apartments.
6. 3D floor planning
AR tools can visualize the measurements of a property and create 3D models and digital blueprints in record time and at a much lower cost. This is highly beneficial for large commercial real estate companies and architects involved in big city developments, urban planning, hospitals, shopping malls and more.
7. Construction efficiency and safety
Augmented reality is also having a huge impact on the construction industry. Construction workers can utilize AR-enhanced mobile apps on the construction site to see where sewage and gas pipes are located, where electric lines are running, and exact property lines. This creates a safer and more efficient on-the-job experience.
8. Expanded target audience
Through virtual and augmented reality, real estate agents can “show” their listings to people from all over the world. They are no longer limited just to the people in the immediate area of the listing. This is especially beneficial for those agents who deal in multi-million dollar listings with high-wealth customers that have many different homes.
These are just a few of the ways that augmented reality is disrupting and revolutionizing the real-estate industry. As both industries continue to grow, the possibilities for new advancements and uses of AR for realtors seem endless.
One thing is certain. If you’re in the real estate business and you don’t currently have an AR app, you’re going to get left behind. And that’s a real – not a virtual – reality.