By Amit Ruparel
Property investment for any individual—be it residential or commercial requires a lot of time and detailing in terms of location, space, design, amenities, etc. The decision gets much tougher when the property and the buyer are geographically distant. Virtual Reality (VR) technology comes as a big support here. A Goldman Sachs report says that by 2025, virtual reality technology space will be a $80-billion market, with real estate accounting for $2.6 billion of it. In India, many technology start-ups and popular online real estate marketplaces, offer virtual reality tours of properties.
The aid of 3D visualisation
For real estate developers, virtual reality is a very important tool to help assist the sales of under-construction property. Architectural 3D visualisation allows customers to ‘see’ the future look of exterior or even interior designs. By using the 3D visualisation application, a person willing to buy a home can access the home design, floor plan of the building and design the interiors without being physically present.
One of the crucial parameters for homebuyers is to check whether their existing furniture, appliances and other home interiors will suit the new space. Back in 1985, agencies started to collaborate with interior designers to enhance the look of their properties. This was where the term ‘staging’ evolved. It was observed that staged houses required 80% less time to sell. Thus, this concept was adapted in VR tours which resulted in better understanding by both consumers and real estate developers.
Virtual reality has upped its game by introducing the power of touchscreens. Home buyers can now pair their smartphone, computer/ laptop devices and tablets with VR devices to get a 360-degree video inside the property of their choice.
Today, there is nothing more valuable as time. Thanks to VR, the search and review of a new property has become a faster process. Another advantage is that it helps in saving money because the technology helps give virtual tours with quality graphics and commercial features.
VR eliminates distances. This is why the very first VR tours were created for the realtors to build and expand their client base and not limited to local buyers. Unlike 2D print visualisation, virtual tours provide immersion and a realistic feel. By means of the medium, the homebuyers have the freedom of exploration and interaction. It surely helps strengthen buying decision, by invoking the sense of ownership.
In order to simplify the purchase decisions, today, real estate developers are utilising Real Time Options, by which they can customise colour palettes, materials, furnishing and lighting conditions, to help buyers personalise and visualise the under-construction spaces, as well as analytics to understand market trends.
The future of virtual experience
Thus, the dual experience of tactile virtual reality and the freedom of online shopping have helped homebuyers to narrow down their options in terms of which property to invest in even before a single brick is laid in the project.
The author is managing director, Ruparel Realty