Virtual Reality: The Next Step in Property Purchases

Pieter Aarts, CEO of roOomy, walks us through how real estate firms leverage new technologies and what to expect in terms of innovation in the following years.
Pieter Aarts, CEO of roOomy

Pieter Aarts, CEO of roOomy

San Jose, Calif.—Nearly 20 percent of homebuyers make an offer before actually seeing a property, according to a recent study by Redfin. In the age of technology, mobile apps fill that gap. They are easy to use, time-saving and useful when it comes to virtual walkthroughs and are preferable to dozens of physical visits to properties in the company of a real estate broker.

roOomy is a platform that not only allows buyers to visualize a property, but it also enables them to redecorate it as they see fit, using 3D technologies and home furnishings that are actually available for purchase. “The online real estate marketing industry is becoming increasingly competitive, as consumers are seeking an immediate, one-stop-shop to gather all information about an apartment and brokers are leveraging this omni-channel approach to reach and engage a broader audience. In an age where 95 percent of shoppers begin their apartment hunting process online, real estate professionals would be wise to embrace this technology heavily in 2017,” Pieter Aarts, CEO of roOomy, told Multi-Housing News. Today, 95 percent of consumers begin their house hunting process online, but in the end, it’s not just about technological advancements. It’s more about convenience—nowadays, the consumer doesn’t have the time to visit up to ten properties before making an offer.

In the next few years, virtual reality and augmented reality are expected to become more of a common thing in several aspects of everyday life. “VR and AR revenues are expected to top $120 billion by 2020 and will have a substantial impact on every industry – from real estate to retail to healthcare. When talking about VR’s effect on the apartment shopping process, it can really be broken down into two categories: eliminating the common issue of visualization/conceptualization and property managers being able to better cater to renters’ varying tastes,” Aarts added. However easy and useful this might be, is a virtual tour and a 3D staging session enough to close a deal? Apparently, yes.

Considering the results on blind-bidding research, marketing a property online can lead to immediate conversions. “Ultimately, a lot of it depends on the quality of the virtual tour and technology. We constantly hear renters complain when a property only has one or two static photos, as it makes it incredibly difficult to visualize a space. By offering virtual tours or interactive virtual staging layouts, renters can experience a 360-degree view of a space that’s as impactful as actually being on-site. For those who don’t have the time to physically visit a property, the value shows itself as they can swipe through a few options, take a ‘tour’ and contact the broker to sign a lease from the convenience of their couch”, Aarts explained.

Rendering of roOomy's VR Technology

Rendering of roOomy’s VR Technology

The use of mobile apps for real estate is already a common practice for several brokerage companies. roOomy partnered with numerous brokerage companies, including Keller Williams and Sotheby’s, to virtually stage their properties. “The real estate industry has definitely recognized the need to incorporate technology into their processes to remain competitive and accommodate their audience. The market still has a long way to go to become more technologically savvy, but we are headed in the right direction and virtual reality deserves a lot of credit for this transition,” Aarts said.

2017 will bring even more technology into the field. The concept of “smart home” is expected to evolve, while technologies such as smart lighting fixtures and automated door locks are likely to become more mainstream. The purpose here is not only linked to convenience, but also to improving energy efficiency and safety.

Images courtesy of roOomy