The real estate market has changed. Even before CoVid 19, which has significantly altered the property landscape, the marketing of real estate has evolved from a print-based formula to a more digital, interactive platform. As the global impact of the coronavirus expands, real estate agents are finding creative ways to continue connecting buyers and sellers. Guidelines for social distancing and mandatory closures have changed daily since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, creating a challenging environment for real estate agents who want to ensure the best possible results for their clients.

Whilst the process of buying and selling a house remains the same at its core, the ways of presenting a property have shifted, particularly as a result of isolation and lockdown. Traditionally a real estate agent promotes a property to a qualified client base and to the wider market via direct contact with their database, and via print, websites and office window displays for local traffic. This would be followed up with dates set aside for home open inspections or private viewings, and then a series of negotiations leading toward a successful sale.

Now with CoVid 19, real estate agents are exploring new ways of presenting properties to prospective clients in a way that adheres to Victoria's stage three rules of physical distancing. It is a game changer, but importantly, not necessarily a negative one. Video has already been transforming the way the real estate industry functions - providing insightful tours through a property so that prospective buyers get a real feel for the home, for how their furniture might fit in it and how their family could live in it.

​Image: Matterport

Selling a property via video is more than just showing the sparkling highlights, it’s about creating a mood, an emotive expression of the property so that prospective buyers can get a real sense of the feeling the home offers. The video needs to wrap itself around the viewer. Technology can make everything look perfect, but serious buyers want a more detailed experience. This is the best possible way to generate interest, stimulate demand and encourage more sight unseen purchases (or at the very least, a final visit that will secure the sale). Most people like to use all five senses and see a place in person before they buy.

Image: Shutterstock

However it seems the next step for the non-contact real estate industry is virtual reality (VR). For many people, virtual reality is associated with video games and entertainment however this technology has huge potential in the real estate industry. Typically, clients visit multiple properties before deciding on the one they want. This requires a lot of time on the part of the Vendor, the buyer and the real estate agent.

VR technology allows a limitless number of people globally to virtually visit properties without leaving their homes. All that is required is a VR headset to experience immersive, three-dimensional walkthroughs of properties. In a matter of minutes, potential buyers or renters can virtually visit dozens of locations and decide which are worth visiting in person.

Image: ImmersiveVR

Most likely the key benefit of VR solutions is that they save time for both clients and realtors. Thanks to VR, there’s no need to travel from one property to another - clients can simply put on VR headsets and enjoy immersive three-dimensional tours any time they choose without having to arrange an inspection time. If clients don’t have their own VR headsets, they can simply visit their real estate agent’s office to enjoy a series of virtual tours.

Image: Getty Images

Unlike a traditional home video production, where someone with a camera decides what you see and when, the advantage of VRE (virtual real estate) is it has the potential to put an online viewer/buyer behind the camera. An online visitor could return to previously viewed rooms or outdoor features in any sequence and at any time. It’s important to note, in terms of privacy, that the viewer can only see what is filmed so the content is still ultimately in the hands of the Vendor. Viewers can’t explore beyond cupboard doors.

Foreign buyers have been engaging in virtual reality showings for some time, so they’re used to searching for properties this way. Over the past four or five years there has been an increase in the number of international clients purchasing homes sight unseen, especially if they know the specific building or neighbourhood. Or if the property is purely for investment purposes.

At the end of the day however, our belief is that virtual tours will never achieve what in-person showings do. Nothing will replace that indescribable gut feeling when you first step onto a piece of land and view your potential home. That irreplaceable inner excitement as you walk in the door and the sense of place that you get when you know a home is perfect for you. That’s the human element of life that will always win out in the end.

For more information on selling your property or buying a property during these unusual times, call Sam Danckert on 0432 444 040.

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