Wouldn’t it be great to hold an open house 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year?  Virtual reality, in this case, the marriage of real estate and technology, is making this new open house possible right now.  All one needs to explore property listings anywhere in the world from any place in the world is a state-of-the-art camera, staffing power to operate these complex tools, headsets, and websites equipped to support this technology.

Not only is virtual reality enabling potential buyers to step inside homes without taking a step, it’s also enabling commercial investors to view renderings of empty commercial spaces built out as restaurants or as office areas so they can grasp what’s possible within that empty space.

Already on the market are Matterport 3D imaging technology, Occulus Rift, HTC Vive Pre, Samsung Gear VR, etc.  All of them show off homes and commercial spaces in ways that were simply not possible previously.  With Matterport 3D, for example, the consumer can view multiple perspectives of a property…a first person walk through, a floor plan, a side angle “dollhouse” view… while zooming in on details, looking up and down or left and right or forward and backward.  Mattertag Content also details the specifics and stories of the overall home and its parts as the consumer makes her/his virtual way through the home.

Currently, opportunities to utilize these new open houses and commercial space renderings tend to be explored by brokerages focused on high-end properties due to the high costs of the necessary equipment and staffing expertise.  But as the costs drop and the technology becomes more user friendly, many real estate professionals  envision virtual reality as a game changer for the industry.

Jonathan Kaufman Iger, CEO of Sage Realty Corp. in New York says, “I believe virtual reality has the potential to be like the industry’s move from photos to video.  The quality of the virtual reality experience is already great, but it will only get better.”  Neil Lyon, broker,  agent and former managing partner of Sotheby’s International Realty in Santa Fe, New Mexico, says that virtual reality is “…truly a market leading innovative approach…this immersive and user controlled technology provides clients with distinct advantages in both marketing and selecting their homes.”