Real estate has always leaned heavily on technology as it ebbs and flows, ensuring ease for buyers and sellers alike, and ultimately guaranteeing the best possible returns. The online switch is perhaps the most prevalent example of this, paving the way for property advertisements that land in house hunter’s inboxes, but there’s a new tech contender on the real estate block right now, and it comes in the form of virtual reality.
This latest technology trend has been climbing the ranks for a while, but a year of limited viewings and everyone preferring to stay at home has seen VR very much making itself at home within real estate. Now, online viewings, aerial street views, and even fully virtual tours of new builds are industry standard. And, as we switch back to ‘life as normal,’ this trend doesn’t look set to go anywhere soon.
Any real estate agent who has utilised this tech for any amount of time will probably already have a pretty decent idea of the benefits from doing so. But, if you’re questioning whether VR should rent a room in your real estate business for the long term, we’re going to look at a few of the benefits you can feel from keeping this trend around.
# 1 – Cutting costs
Saving money has to be the driving force of technological change for any business, and real estate is no exception. Of course, as with any new investment, it is important to spend here before you can see results, but these expenses will surely pay for themselves fast. Notably, businesses need quality drones to capture their properties in the best light, along with the editing software that really brings those videos to life.
Luckily, even quality drones from sites like DrDrone aren’t going to cost as much as sending an estate agent out to conduct a viewing for every curious buyer. Instead, one drone or Adobe Premiere purchase could pay for itself in just a few saved viewings when you consider the wasted time and fuel you’d need to pay for otherwise. Of course, buyers will likely still want to view after a VR experience that impresses, but the numbers will be much lower. The ability to view property interiors in advance also means that these leads are far more likely to convert, ensuring that money you do spend on physical efforts moving forward could soon be more money in the bank.
# 2 – Harnessing a ‘love-it, buy-it’ mentality
Any real estate agent knows that, when we’re buying property for personal use, the vast majority of us shop with our hearts and not our heads. Of course, practicalities do get a look in, but in most instances, they fall down the list of priorities in place of ‘gut feelings’ about a house. This is great news for virtual viewings, which can show properties in their best light while hiding less positive aspects, such as roadside locations or overlooked gardens.
Instead, VR means that estate agents are in a far better position to create an emotional connection with any property, focusing on key features, stunning decor, and even a tailored feeling of calm. These are aspects that most buyers fall in love with and, if you get VR just right, they could see potential buyers imagining themselves in a property before they’ve had time to take in its less desirable traits. As such, by the time they do visit in-person, they’re far less likely to let little niggles put them off purchasing, ensuring a ‘love-it buy-it mentality’ that makes even problematic properties far easier to sell.
# 3 – Putting real estate agents back in control
Real estate has always very much kept the power in the buyer’s hands and, while real estate agents will reach out to buyers on their books with property ideas, it’s typically buyers who contact agents or call the viewing shots. There’s nothing wrong with this, and booming property markets certainly suggest that it works, but the integration of VR provides real estate agents with an interesting chance to take the helm and push properties to even passive listing viewers.
This is especially the case when you consider another rising real estate trend – targeted ads. Real estate has been surprisingly slow to get on top of personalisation, especially in light of the active buyer roles that we just discussed. This can make advertising difficult with only niche groups of buyers reacting, but times are changing, enabling for personalised recommendations on properties that buyers perhaps wouldn’t actively seek out but may love nonetheless. Adding VR to this mix, real estate agents will be far better poised to push those properties, providing easy-to-access viewings and visualisations that can seal the deal on even unsearched for personalised ads.
# 4 – Keeping everyone happy
Let’s not forget, either, that easier viewings have the benefit of keeping everyone in the real estate cycle happy. This starts in-house, where staff with more time on their hands will be better able to manage their workflows and generally improve output in that sense. For sellers, too, not having to vacate the house for a largely pointless viewing first thing on a Saturday morning is guaranteed to go down well. And, of course, for buyers themselves, the ability to view a property online when they get home from work in the evening can save on the need for time off work or the busy afternoon/evening viewings that no one enjoys.
This is great news and is guaranteed to create better results across the board. Not only will real estate agents be able to spend more time on advertising copy for each property, but buyers will be far fresher to the table than if they’ve already viewed 50+ unsuitable properties in advance. Not to mention that the fewer viewings and the more viable each buyer is, the more likely homeowners are to go above and beyond in their attempts at cleaning and staging with wow factor. All this results in one pressing benefit – sales, sales, sales!
# 5 – Strengthening your brand image
Adding VR to your real estate mix can also strengthen your brand image, ensuring that your name sticks in buyer’s minds and that you create a reputation you can rest on at last. This is especially important in an industry where differentiation can be hard to come by and ‘reputation’ is often a luck-of-the-draw case of which properties you’re able to get on your books.
Of course, VR can’t eliminate this industry standard, but the right editing tools and video content can certainly set you apart in a way typical viewings never would. Presets and style could certainly help you to create brand consistency and difference that means, even if buyers aren’t sold on a property they view through VR, they’re far more likely to keep an eye out for your listings moving forward.
A final word
Technology very much rests at the helm of the real estate future, and VR is perhaps the most pressing change yet, driving sales and transforming viewings that have remained the same for decades. As well as missing out on the benefits mentioned, real estate companies who fail to get on top here fast are at risk of falling behind the competition in a major way. As such, it’s vital that you get to work giving VR a room in your real estate house, flying the flag for the future of the industry, and enjoying a vast array of potential benefits from doing so.
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