True believers talk up real estate revolution

True believers talk up real estate revolution

Oculus Rift
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The real estate industry could be on the brink of a fundamental change in the way in which it lists and sells property.

Virtual reality listings made a quiet debut in Australia several months ago, but they’re set to become an increasingly prominent part of the real estate landscape, according to realestate.com.au.

Facebook is one believer in the potential of virtual reality – it purchased California-based developer Oculus VR for US$2 billion in 2014. As virtual reality listings grow in popularity, it’s possible that the much-hyped Oculus Rift headset could emerge as the market leader.

Gamers are excited by the potential of Oculus Rift – but there are “virtually endless reasons why agents should be too”, realestate.com.au says, given that “of all industries, real estate may be set to benefit the most”.

“If you’ve ever tried persuading a buyer to consider purchasing a property without them having visited it, you’ll know it’s no walk in the park, even without stamp duty. But any difficulties you may have had in helping remote buyers to make an emotional connection to a property are soon to be alleviated with the Oculus Rift,” realestate.com.au says.

The portal says it’s singing from the same hymn sheet as Jon Brouchoud, founder of Arch Virtual, which develops virtual reality applications that can be viewed with an Oculus Rift headset.

As Mr Brouchoud explains, buyers can’t get a sense of a home’s space when they look at a listing online, while actually visiting the home is time-consuming. Virtual reality solves both those problems.

“He argues this is set to save agencies time and money by more effectively validating properties to buyers without the need to visit in person,” realestate.com.au says.

It remains to be seen how rapidly consumers will embrace the technology, according to realestate.com.au.

“If the speed of uptake is slow, it will impact its usefulness as a marketing channel. However, once it becomes more mainstream, the Oculus Rift is set to permanently shift real estate marketing in a big way,” it says.

Mr Brouchoud also cautions that Oculus Rift won’t become mainstream overnight. “But I think we’ll start to see a rapidly increasing number of agencies adopting this technology in the next two to three years,” he says. “We’re already seeing a lot of early innovation today, and in five years it will be commonplace. Early adopters will be able to differentiate their listings with this technology.”

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