Virtual reality (VR) became very popular after Facebook bought Oculus Rift for $2 billion in 2014. VR, by definition, is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment.
VR is being used a lot in video games, medical experiments such as helping amputee victims and children with autism, or even military soldiers training. So, what about real estate?
Is it a good idea to use virtual reality in apartment tours?
People are doing their apartment research online, but they don’t have enough time to visit every single apartment they are interested in. When you find many good apartments, how to decide which one to visit or where to submit online application? Currently, real estate websites and property management firms are trying to provide high definition pictures, floor maps or video tours to better show their apartments, but even that couldn’t bring the feeling like visiting the apartment in person. Long-term renters just need more information.
If you are planning a vacation trip, you can easily find nice hotels on different travel sites and book them right away. Hotels are rated by the star system, which means that you already know what you will get, before you book a room. More importantly, even if you get a bad hotel, it will be just for a couple of days, but when you are looking for the long-term rental you will be in that apartment for at least a couple of months. That’s the reason why people are careful and diligent when making their decision about renting for long-term.
CommonFloor.com, one of India’s leading online real estate companies, is already testing its virtual apartment tour with their customers. They can use Android phones to view all of their available apartments virtually.
The biggest problem in virtual apartment tour is that it’s still not a real feeling. It’s not a real 4K or 5K video, just a regular 3D video. You will feel like playing a video game. Although, the technology is still at very early stage, the future is bright. Maybe we don’t even need to visit the apartment if the virtual tour can really provide a real-world feeling.