Is VR really worth it for real estate agents?

October 5, 2018

Real estate professionals have likely heard a lot of buzz around virtual reality in recent years. However, some may be skeptical about the return on investment they will receive from utilizing it. In either case, it's important to have a careful look before taking the plunge.

There's plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that VR's use in real estate is starting to make some serious headway - at least in major markets - and in many cases it might not take an investment of more than a few hundred dollars to adopt, according to Think Mobiles. One must therefore consider both the advantages and disadvantages that come with utilizing VR as part of a real estate practice.

The 'wow' factor
The most practical application for the technology comes in giving virtual tours of listings, which can save agents and buying clients alike a lot of time. After all, the ability to look at two, three or four houses in a single one-hour meeting really takes a lot of the stress out of traveling to multiple open houses, and can really help people get a feel for a property when it's at its best. Plus, with the right type of VR tech, agents can even enable prospective buyers to be more than just passive in their virtual tours, allowing them to visit the rooms in the homes they want to see, all from within that virtual world.

Likewise, agents get the benefit of cutting costs associated with hosting open houses (visits to the property in advance and on the day, buying signage, paying for advertising, staging the home properly, etc.), as well as being able to schedule multiple clients to view multiple homes all in one day, according to Ruby Garage. Plus, being able to have those clients put on a VR headset and tour a home can really be impressive, helping give agents the edge in real estate sales over others in the area who haven't adopted the technology.

Potential drawbacks
On the other hand, agents have to keep in mind that it might take a little bit more of a time financial commitment to properly shoot a home for a virtual tour, because they have to make sure everything in the property is just so, and either hire a crew to shoot the 360-degree video, or learn how to do it themselves.

Moreover, if agents are doing a good job of facilitating real estate sales - from either side of the transaction - then they might not have much reason to invest hundreds of dollars or more in a state-of-the-art VR setup. Of course, each agent's needs are different and if they feel they have to consider future prospects sooner than later, then adopting now might allow them to get their foot in the door at a time when few of their competitors might have done the same.

Being an agent is all about servicing the client's needs, and if nailing down a good VR strategy is a potentially attractive part of that effort, then it can be a good investment to make in the near future.