Imagine using a drone to scope out your next investment. Or “showing” a house from the comfort of your office, giving prospective buyers a fully immersive virtual reality experience. Smart investors and real estate professionals today are embracing tomorrow’s technology to streamline buying and selling and add a bit of “wow” factor to every deal. Let’s look at three technologies that sound futuristic but are actually very real—and could very well change the way you buy and sell real estate.
Send in the Drones
Real estate buyers today are already accustomed to exploring a property virtually online before they contact a real estate agent. Make your properties stand out on listing websites with aerial photos and video taken by a drone. This technology is already prevalent in the larger markets and is taking off (so to speak) in smaller markets, too. A recent article from DroneLabs ranks DJI Phantom 4 the leader of the pack.
Combine the capabilities of drones with virtual reality (VR) via technology like Samsung VR Gear, Oculus Rift, or Snapchat spectacles to take prospective buyers on a tour of a property without leaving your office. Take your real estate pitches to new heights—literally—by giving buyers a bird’s eye view of the property and the surrounding neighborhood without the cost and hassle of a helicopter ride—previously the only way high-end real estate brokers could offer such an experience.
While an eagle-eye, VR view of a property offers plenty of high-tech “wow” to buyers, one of the main issues with using one of the VR systems that are popular today, requiring the user to wear goggles that wrap around their face is the lack of a face-to-face human connection. The technology can get in the way of building rapport. It may also be difficult to tell if the buyer is gasping in awe or horror at the home’s features and décor because you can’t see their eyes.
However, the new Hybrid Virtual Environment 3-D system immerses viewers in a virtual environment while allowing them to interact more easily with others in the room by displaying lifelike images on a concave-spherical screen. Images can be prerecorded or captured in real-time via a drone.
VR might at first seem over the top, but it could very well represent the future of real estate. Another bonus? With computer-generated imagery, you can take prospective buyers on a virtual tour of properties still under construction, even permitting them to visualize their favorite colors—or their current furniture—in the new home.
While virtual reality immerses viewers in a completely different environment from the one they are in, augmented reality overlays realistic imagery over the user’s current surroundings. (Think Pokemon Go and those little critters that popped up everywhere this past summer.)
This technology has far-reaching applications for fix and flip investors or single family rentals (SFR), as you can overlay home improvements—from paint colors to a whole new kitchen—over an existing home or a property under construction. Most AR systems today use a tablet, iPad, or other mobile device so you can simultaneously view your surroundings and the augmented aspects, but future technologies could involve contact lenses—worn just like conventional contacts— that overlay computer-generated images directly within your environment without requiring a screen.
How to Adopt Technology to Sell Homes Faster
Drones, virtual reality, and augmented reality are all an actual reality, and their prices continue to drop as technology advances. But rather than adopting the latest shiny object to help you build your real estate empire, it’s important to do a cost-benefit analysis. Some systems, like Hyve-3D, might only make sense in large real estate agencies, while AR software and a tablet could be an affordable way to make your next fix and flip project go more smoothly.
How quickly you adopt these new technologies—if at all—depends upon your comfort level and that of your prospects. If you’re marketing to millennials, for instance, you’ll definitely want to look into ways you can enhance their experience through technology, and you’ll want to start immediately. Alas, while VR and AR are ready for you today, if you want a self-driving car to take you to your next appointment, you’ll have to wait until 2020 or so.
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