By Brandon Doyle
Last month, the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS® Young Professional Network presented the first ever virtual broker open. Architech 3D Imaging was on hand to talk about 3D mapping and virtual tours, including Matterport as well as a new service they’re now offering. I spoke about how virtual tours can help market properties and save time for both buyers and sellers. Meanwhile, attendees were able to experience virtual reality demonstrations with Samsung Gear VR platform and a version Architech 3D Imaging’s new product for Google Cardboard that is under development.
The virtual tours we’re creating can be displayed on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. They’re able to be syndicated out to thousands of websites including Zillow through an MLS data feed, so consumers can access them from their couch anywhere in the world. Not only are buyers now able to visualize the home on a flat screen surface, they can also use virtual reality devices to experience the properties as if they were standing right there in the home.
A Samsung Gear VR retails for about $200 and requires the use of compatible Samsung phone. While an agent or a builder may invest in one of these units, it is unlikely that most buyers will have one anytime soon. Enter the Google Cardboard! For around $20 you can fold together a piece of cardboard with a couple of lenses, allowing you to use almost any smartphone to access the virtual tour.
I’m not suggesting that virtual reality will replace a real life showing, but it is a great way for buyers to get a better feel for the layout and finishes of property before visiting. It also allows them to share the home they’re considering virtually with friends, family, or a decision maker who may not be able to attend an in-person showing.
Video captures a property and tells a story, but virtual tours put the consumer in the driver seat. Virtual reality headsets take it to a whole new level of realism.
Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second-generation real estate pro with RE/MAX Results in the Twin Cities. Learn more about Brandon at www.doylerealestateteam.com.