Virtual Reality: The Property Industry's Next Frontier?


Imagine if  property buyers could ‘walk’ through a new off the plan apartment or home without even entering the building.

Sound far-fetched?It may seem like something from Back to the Future II, but prospective buyers are already starting to experience this phenomenon through virtual reality technology.

Although it’s still in its infancy in the property industry, real estate agents, property marketing specialists and developers are now looking for ways to capitalise on a technology that is set to revolutionise the way we purchase properties.

Adelaide’s Ouwens Casserly Real Estate Agents announced this year that it had launched what it believed was Australia’s first virtual reality real estate tours. The company teamed up with 3D tour provider TicketyView and to create a virtual reality headset. Prospective buyers simply don the headset, enabling them to see and ‘walk through’ their potential apartment or home in 3D. The tours are also uploaded online for use on desktop and mobile devices.

“We wanted to create the actual feeling of being in the property itself,” Director Alexander Ouwens said. “It’s something that agents for off the plan developments have always found very difficult to sell – the actual ‘feeling’ of the development.”

Ouwen Casserly's virtual reality headset.[/caption]He said the technology was the way of the future.

“Consumers want more information before they talk to an agent or attend an open house. They want to resolve any issues they have about a property in their mind, before investing,” he said. “Like online shopping, Uber and Air B ‘n’ B, people want convenience, they want it quickly and they want it now.”

So far, clients have responded well to the technology, with internal research indicating that one in three people who clicked on a virtual reality tour online made an appointment to come to their office for a virtual reality tour as well.

Ouwens Casserly is also using virtual reality to sell to interstate and overseas customers, as well as using it to qualify leads for high-end residential homes.

Other companies are also keen to get on the bandwagon.

Undertow Media, a Melbourne property marketing agency, is currently working with some clients to develop a virtual reality product.

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