In the prime London property market, virtual reality property marketing meets its ultimate function.
Those investing in this kind of property are generally overseas investors, so the ability to view the properties they’re interested in from thousands of miles away is the ideal solution.
Whilst the general imagination, when thinking of virtual reality, tends to conjure an image of a teenage gamer strapped into a gigantic headset in a darkened room, the gaming industry is just one part of the VR revolution.
Virtual reality in property is already an industry worth $1bn (roughly £8.2bn), set to treble by 2020, according to Goldman Sachs.
Though, yes, a bulky headset might not be the most sophisticated item for older, ultra-wealthy property investors, nonetheless it’s an option that few high net worth investors are likely to pass up. Saving time on travelling back and forth to the UK, allowing them to view multiple properties from the comfort of their own exotic home, is an irresistible concept.
“For those who don’t have the time to attend a property during the design process,” says Hamish Brown, Partner at interior design studio 1508London, “virtual reality allows us to delivery the viewing experience in clients’ own time. It can also offer the experience of completed interiors to give an idea of the atmosphere of the spaces, colour palettes and even lighting choices.”
Where investors and residential buyers are choosing off-plan developments, virtual reality for property allows visualisation of their prospective purchase before it’s even been built, often several years before completion. This aspect is absolutely key to the future of property marketing, and one that developers and housebuilders are quickly becoming aware of.
Virtual reality for property is popping up in more and more real estate agents’ offices and websites by the week, with everything from Google Cardboard-enabled virtual simulations, right through to the high end Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, rigged up right in the real estate marketing suite.
Facebook Live and the Periscope live video streaming app, too, are paving the way for easy, convenient digital property viewings. The owner of a West Yorkshire farmhouse recently accrued 6,000 views and two offers within 24 hours by holding a virtual tour via Periscope. This new live streaming technology is a great way to give buyers an accurate and detailed look at the property, and allows them to ask the agent questions in real time.
Virtual Reality Property Marketing
in the US
In the US, some vendors are even creating virtual versions of Hollywood actors to ‘star’ in their virtual walkthroughs, giving information about the property with the aid of a glamorous face. Special effects and storytelling are beginning to add a deeper dimension to the experience of purchasing a property, which is bound to appeal to an American audience, but may be offputting for old school wealthy investors, and the cynical tastes of the UK market.
Nonetheless, everything is coming up roses for virtual reality in property marketing. There’s little doubt that a digital future for property is going to be virtually inevitable.