When VR technology first became a consideration for many, it was often in the form of video gaming and use on mobile devices. What was once diminished for lack of quality and seemed as an over-priced toy has been used now for several different industries, including health care, journalism, and social media. However, one of the most surprising sectors that has been influenced by VR has been real estate and home improvement.
Building companies are now starting to see the advantages of staging designs in advance and offering feedback from clients through the use of new technology. Plans might have only been available in the past in 2D format, and clients often felt as though they were spending a lot of money for only a general idea of what the final design would look like.
“At its office in Roseville, Cali., McCarthy has been using VR technology for several years. In 2012, McCarthy built its own Building Information Modeling (BIM) Cave, which uses projection technology and 3D glasses to allow multiple users to see what a hospital or office space will look like,” reports John Gaudiosi for Fortune.
Not only can this allow clients to make changes before the project begins and offers a higher level of satisfaction, but it can also reduce building costs for those building the structure—making it perfect for home remodel and design. Because the cost off changing a home can be so expensive, it serves both the designer of the remodel and the home owner to “see” how the final result will look before ordering materials and hiring contractors.
“The home improvement space is a fantastic place for AR and VR to take off,” CEO Beck Besecker from Marxent Labs states for Digital Trends. Marxent Labs uses VR to work with a variety of industries, but Besecker comments that where it really seems to be taking off in the construction and home improvement and real estate sector.
It also allows clients to have the chance to notice something they might not in person. This can open up room for innovation by allowing home owners to see what their places would look like with decks attached to their houses or and expanded bathroom.
“You can see your project from all angles,” comments the Chief Marketing Officer of Aztek and TimberTech for Digital Trends, Julia Fitzgerald. “You can see it from the backdoor window of your nosy neighbor’s house.”
It is not just home improvement that has changed the way many are starting to look at homes. Realtors and those looking to buy have access to a new way buy houses and explore what is on the market. VR allows those looking to purchase a place an opportunity to try something that might not currently be available, or to see what an apartment could look like with their belongings placed inside.
Senior Vice President of Terra Holdings, Matthew J. Leone, comments on this for the New York Times: “We sell based on emotion and attaching that emotion to a vision…[i]magine a buyer walking out onto the terrace and thinking: ‘If I bought this home and was having breakfast here, this is exactly what I’d see.’ That’s incredible. For a salesman, it’s a dream come true.”
Most realtor companies are looking to add VR and AR (augmented reality) to their business in a few ways. A 3D walkthrough is the most-commonly used technology and it can be used on almost any computer. Much of this is an update to a traditional, physical walkthrough, which allows clients to see the home in person. A client could potentially rule out a number of houses available while saving time that would be spent touring a location in person.
While the technology is currently expensive for building companies and realtors, it is likely that it will become commonplace due to the positive results that the housing industry is seeing. Experts agree that VR will provide solutions to many looking to sell homes that might have been looked over since they can show how a house that is labeled a ‘fixer-upper’ can be transformed into something desirable.
Leone continues, “If you see the homes remotely and be more educated before you actually make a trip, you’ll make the process easier.”
VR has a long way to go before it is a staple of our lives, but there is a lot of potential to change how we could see our future homes or apartment buildings. It also will make its way to other sectors relating to home improvement, such as landscaping and the development of public parks. As technology moves to adding touch, sound, and taste to virtual experiences, a whole new door of buying and selling homes of the future will be opened.