While the concept of virtual reality (VR) has been around for some time, it was not until the pandemic occurred that consumers and businesses started to fully embrace this technology – particularly within the South African real estate sector.
Confined within our homes for months on end, one of the only ways for buyers to view homes was through 3D virtual house tours until restrictions eased. VR technology also made it possible for buyers to get a sense of their new suburbs without physically visiting them. In Google Street View, for example, the user can visit city and suburb streets that they have never actually set foot on.
Confined within our homes for months on end, one of the only ways for buyers to view homes was through 3D virtual house tours until restrictions eased. Photo: Magnus Olsson on Unsplash.
According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, the nation-wide lockdown is what pushed more sellers and real estate professionals into using virtual reality technology such as Matterport to capture 3D renders of the property so that buyers can view virtual tours of the home from the comfort of their own living room.
“Virtual tours have become more commonplace on property listings now than ever before. These tours allow buyers to get a better feel for the flow and layout of the home, which helps to ensure that only serious buyers request a physical walk-through of the property in question,” Goslett explains.
Until such a time where virtual reality programs allow buyers to physically open cupboards and walk through the home through the use of VR headsets, Goslett predicts that VR will not replace in-person viewings. “Although VR can be incredibly helpful, purchasing a home is not only an emotional purchase but is also a weighty financial commitment. For this reason, most buyers will want to see and experience the home in-person before making such a long-term commitment.”
Confined within our homes for months on end, one of the only ways for buyers to view homes was through 3D virtual house tours until restrictions eased. Photo: Sincerely Media on Unsplash.
At the moment, very few households own VR headsets. But, in the future, as this technology progresses, we might see more households adopt this technology. We may even reach a point where the technology will replicate the sense of touch and allow users to see their hands in the virtual world. The user will be able to open doors and cupboards, smell the freshly brewed coffee or baking cookies while interacting with their virtual surroundings when viewing a property. These introductions can be used to simulate the same emotional response in buyers as they would if used in home staging during a show day.
“Even with the advancement in technology and possible application, it remains to be seen whether the virtual world will ever truly rival the actual experience of shopping for a home in person. That being said, the elements of VR that are already in use continue to help limit our physical contact with others, which contributes towards keeping us all safe while the threat of COVID-19 persists,” Goslett concludes.
For more insight into real estate trends or to get in touch with an agent from the world’s leading real estate brand, visit www.remax.co.za.