Despite not yet being released in Australia, one Ballarat-based agent has already sold two properties thanks to Google Glass smart glasses.
Biggin & Scott agent James Nicol, who was one of the wearable tech’s “early explorers”, spent $2,500 on the high-tech eyewear (which went on general sale in the US last week at a price of US$1,500) and is already reaping the rewards in terms of sales.
Mr Nicol may be the first in Australia but he’s part of a growing demand for smart-glass technology from property agents around the world, who are using it to show clients - whether overseas or just unable to make it to the open house - aspects of a property that they would otherwise not be able to see.
Google Glass displays information like a smartphone and can communicate with the internet using voice commands, so it can be used to improve property searches and conduct tours. Its applications mean buyers can have personal tours of properties in great detail by instructing the viewer to see and test items inside the property.
There are two applications: firstly, the augmentation of reality and the ability to superimpose images streamed through Glass over the top of your general perspective, and secondly the live streaming of properties through a first-person perspective.
Mr Nicol, originally from Canada, who plans to use Google Glass to simplify virtual tours and house inspections for Biggin & Scott, predicts it could be a huge hit with real estate agents when it does launch in Australia.
"It’s great, I use it in my day-to-day job,” Mr Nicol told Real Estate Business. “There are a lot of people who say it’s a fad, but they said the same thing about mobile phones and tablets. I use it mostly for private sales. We get a lot of cashed-up buyers who have missed out on certain properties. Recently we listed a property and we had three buyers interested who had missed out on other properties. So I did a Google Hangout using Glass with the buyers, so everybody got a first look.
"It’s like a conference call but it's video and interactive, so I can go through and show people the different rooms and what it's all about without them having to be present. We’ve sold a couple of properties this way,” he revealed.
Mr Nicol said Google Glass is particularly useful when doing leasing and management duties. "If you’re doing any status reports, you can have the vendor online viewing it in real time with you,” he said.
“I think Glass technology is only as good as the people that are using it. I can see it being used in the future once there are some agencies that adapt it,” he added.