One of the most difficult problems for commercial real estate brokers is coordinating clients’ schedules and the time needed for property tours. The more people that will participate, the more difficult the process is. This is one of the problems virtual reality (VR) technologies can solve. Using VR-based 3D models can dramatically shorten the time needed for building tours and allow 20 or more buildings to be toured in a day or less.
The alternative to viewing buildings in person until VR, consisted of viewing online pictures and/or videos of a property, which limits the potential buyer or tenant’s ability to get an accurate feel for the property. Immersive 3D models or self-guided 3D video tours provides a more complete experience allowing buyers and tenants to better evaluate a property. This reduces search time and costs for all parties in a transaction, enabling faster decision making.
The new generation of VR technology fundamentally changes property or space search process. Tenant and buyers no longer need to screen properties based on two-dimensional images or videos. They can remotely “tour” properties in 3D on a computer or through a VR headset that transforms their experience into a completely immersive one – greatly increasing one’s sense of “Presence”. (For more details on VR-based Spatial Immersion and the true Power of Presence please see our previous blog – Why Virtual Reality (VR) Helps you Sell and/or Lease Faster.)
The first VR videos were just 360-degree videos in which people could look around a property from a fixed point. Today’s VR tours enable full walk-throughs of a property, enabling a life-like 3D experience that delivers an undistorted and accurate perception of the space with real-world depth perception, proportion, and scale.
VR also changes the game for buildings that are still in the design or construction phase, or are being extensively renovated. In these cases, VR is the only way potential investors, buyers or tenants can truly experience a property that does not yet exist or visualize the impact of an on-going development or renovation. The only traditional media that could be used are renderings, which are nowhere near as effective as an immersive 3D model.
In one case, a Pix client was able to pre-lease 93% of their student housing project while it was still under construction. More on that in an upcoming Pix-VR case study.
Anyone using a VR model can spend as much time as they want anywhere in the property. More importantly, where they spend time can be tracked so areas that are of importance or concern can be quickly identified. Because users fully control a VR tour, they tend to spend more time looking at a property than when they only have two-dimensional media.
People spend an average of five minutes touring a property using VR technology versus just 15 seconds if it is a 2D video. In other words, a VR model holds peoples’ attention 20 times longer!
Those five minutes can be both efficient and effective. With VR a buyer or tenant can envision how a space will work by looking at virtual representations of workspaces, furniture and even how people might move through the space via Virtual Test Fits (e.g., RealFit). In addition, they can make changes to the finishes and design in real-time. The ability to do these “what-if scenarios” often increases the user’s virtual tour time to 15 minutes or longer if they are interested, which moves closer towards a transaction.
If you do the math, you’ll see it’s possible to tour 20 or more building in a day. Even if 15 minutes is spent per building, you could easily squeeze in 20 buildings between breakfast and lunch! In addition, you have not had to deal with the logistics of scheduling physical tours for all those properties.
More importantly you have a more time and cost efficient, less stressful way for clients to screen opportunities that result in a more focused and relevant physical property tour that can be done in hours rather than days. The result is a shorter transaction cycle. That, in short, is the power of VR technology.
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