A decade ago, virtual real estate tours might have sounded like a pipe dream. The idea of a complete, immersive tour of remote properties – complete with 360-degree views and the potential for detailed exploration – seemed ripped from the pages of science fiction. And that’s especially true in the real estate industry, which had a reputation for being conservative in its tech adoption.
Then COVID hit the industry. And like it did to countless other industries, the pandemic catalyzed innovative ideas and practices. The real estate industry could no longer hem and haw over emerging tech adoption; they needed immersive technologies to thrive in the digital ecosystem of pandemic consumerism.
When asked what he thought the next decade had in store for real estate transactions, tech maverick and real estate expert Regan McGee had an immediate, definitive answer: “We will see further use of technology like drones and virtual tours.”
What allows experts like McGee to prognosticate with such confidence? Maybe it’s because virtual tours have undisputable benefits – for buyers, sellers and real estate agents. Let’s take a closer look below.
The Power of Immediacy in Real Estate
Let’s begin with a buyer benefit: the power of immediacy. Before the advent of virtual tours, buyers had to book a walkthrough or await an open house before they could adequately evaluate a property. These processes took time. And in hot markets, more time meant more competition, more bids.
AR and VR tours allow savvy buyers to quickly evaluate their options so they can leverage speed for a successful bid.
Enabling Sight-Unseen Sales and Remote Buyers
One of the central benefits of virtual tours – for buyers, sellers and agents – is that they facilitate sight-unseen sales. For sellers and agents, this is a massive uptick; they can expand their market reach to include prospective buyers from around the globe.
And for remote buyers, virtual property tours represent added assurance. In the past, a remote buyer had to take it on faith that the 10 to 16 photographs in a listing accurately represented a property. Now, they virtually walk the halls of a property, inspecting each square foot in detail.
An Engaging Edge in Property Marketing
Immersive tech like virtual reality, 360-degree photography and AR are engaging marketing tools. If a picture says a thousand words, a virtual tour is worth orders of magnitude more.
Real estate agents are always looking for the best new way to promote a listing and reduce days on market; virtual tours help agents broaden a listing’s reach and engage its viewers for quicker sales and turnovers.
Saving Time, Money and Energy
The through-line in all the benefits above is convenience. Virtual tours save buyers and sellers time and energy, bypassing several lengthy physical walkthroughs. They allow real estate agents to market a property effectively without pouring money into traditional advertisement channels. And in general, virtual tours make the real estate transaction process simpler for all parties.
When real estate tech innovator Regan McGee predicted a rise in virtual tours, he might have had these benefits in mind. Or he might have just seen the way the wind is blowing, as several practitioners and consumers adopt the emerging tech with open arms.