Virtual Reality: A New Way to House Hunt

Posted on Sep 10 2015 - 9:30am by Suzanne De Vita


It’s RoboCop-meets-real estate.

Whether local or abroad, homebuyers appreciate a visual. But a growing segment of buyers are benefitting from a new kind of visual marketing far from the mainstream grid: virtual reality.

For the better part of the year, a Los Angeles-based real estate team has been toying with virtual reality as a means to market high-end properties to international buyers. The “VR” device of choice for the Matthew Hood Real Estate Group at Sotheby’s International Realty is the Samsung Gear VR, a headset reminiscent of the View-Master stereoscope. (Mattel, incidentally, has partnered with Google to revamp the View-Master with VR capability, slated to roll out this fall. Get your Christmas shopping done early, folks!)

The headset, complete with a 96-degree field of view and touch pad, offers buyers a home tour experience like no other. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, a VR tour is worth millions. And that multimillion-dollar deal offsets the cost of scanning a home for VR, which, as Fortune recently reported, can be as high as $700.

The challenge, according to Matthew Hood, is adoption. “Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population has even experienced the technology,” he said in a Q&A earlier this year. “While forecasts predict exponential growth in the coming years to tens-of-millions of displays, right now it is very, very limited.

“Imagine being able to visit five homes in only 15 minutes. VR is where home discovery and in-depth exploration take place.”

In a similar development late last year, a Manhattan developer successfully utilized holography to market condominiums mid-construction, showcasing projected amenities and the surrounding neighborhood to would-be residents.

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