Be ahead of the curve on these virtual technologies to expand and enhance your business opportunities and client services.
Real Estate in the Metaverse
Within the more than dozen metaverse platforms, eXp Realty was the first real estate brokerage to implement eXp World, a virtual reality world in which agents/brokers meet to facilitate transactions, offer recruitment and training webinars, attend educational classes/gatherings and work together collaboratively.
Additional real estate companies that are implementing their own platforms dedicated to metaverse vehicles that facilitate real estate transactions include Metaverse Property, SuperWorld, Propy and the SERHANT brokerage, which is putting together a metaverse for its agents, clients and recruits.
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Likely, more real estate focused businesses will cultivate their own specific metaverse vehicles simply because operating in the metaverse is so efficient, inclusive and effective regardless of disruptions (such as COVID) happening in our universe.
Think about the metaverse as an alternative, immersive world that exists when you put on a virtual reality (VR) headset and visit simulated digital worlds as your digital self, aka avatar. In this digital metaverse world, you could seamlessly connect with a managing broker, send/receive/upload needed documents, electronically sign needed documents regardless of where the buyers/sellers/agents/attorneys/compliance officers/other avatars who represent “real people” in your office or other offices might be. The time and money savings are enormous.
Buying/Selling Virtual Land
According to CNBC, buying/selling virtual land in the metaverse exceeded +$500M in 2021. This amount is expected to double this year.
Virtual or digital property sales have, thus far, been done on these metaverses: The Sandbox, Decentraland, Cryptovoxels and Somnium Space, according to Tim and Julie Harris of Tim and Julie Harris Real Estate Coaching.
Agents and brokers who assist clients in buying and selling virtual land can “…assess the average value of different virtual properties and suggest where buyers might consider investing or purchasing,” said Lisa Fettner, a marketing and communications consultant who works with Propy. “They can also assist clients in selling virtual land.
Just as in our traditional real estate world, location, location, location matters in the digital world of real estate. Eva Martin, CEO of Tiendo, said that in Decentraland’s Genesis City, “prices vary depending on location, whether they’re centrally located, near a shopping area surrounded by luxury brands, or on the outskirts in the suburbs.”
Most metaverse transactions are executed with cryptocurrency (crypto), or digital currency, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum Litecoin, Dogecoin, Cardano and Tether. Since certain metaverses only accept certain digital currencies, it is relatively easy to convert one crypto to another.
Metaverse transactions are recorded with a technology known as blockchain. Blockchain offers buyers and sellers enhanced security measures in terms of fund transfers and buyer/seller identities, low fee structures and speedy transaction times. Now, cryptocurrency is mainstream enough that some mortgage lenders are allowing buyers to make their loan payments via crypto and even borrow against their crypto. Even PayPal and Venmo are allowing their uses to purchase and/or store via crypto.
Most recently, The Waldorf Astoria Residence Miami and E!! Even Residences Miami are accepting digital currency.
Nile Lundgren, an international real estate broker at SERHANT, said, “Agents must understand the basics of crypto since striking deals in real life may come with crypto as part of an offer. I’ve personally worked with sellers open to or keen on taking part or all of the sale of their real estate in crypto”
Ludgren also predicts that house flippers will begin leveraging their crypto almost like a self-funded bridge loans. “If you hold crypto, you can take a loan against your crypto immediately, then start any rehab work. Once the work is complete and you sell, you repay the loan you took from your crypto holdings at minimal cost.” No waiting for loan approvals, no elevated fees and/or interest, no hassle.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
NFTs represent unique assets that are secured by a digital certificate or ownership (called a smart contract) that are stored and tracked by blockchain.
Up until now, NFTs have been in the form of digital assets, such as digital art or virtual properties. Now, however, according to Adam Brown, vice president of business development for Propy, it’s possible to use NFTs to transfer rights to physical assets such as real estate.
Propy, for example, has helped sell two properties, one in Ukraine and one in Florida, as NFTs. Propy anticipates executing 50-100 physical property-as-NFT transactions in the US just this year alone, according to Brown.
Why Know About/Use the Metaverse, Crypto, NFTs?
According to all the people mentioned in this piece (Brown, Lundgren, Fettner, Tim and Julie Harris), the metaverse, cryptocurrencies and NFTs are leading the way towards smoother, more transparent, more profitable, more efficient, more expansive and more secure real estate transactions.
What, if anything, have you got to lose in becoming fluent in all of these technological advances? And who knows, what have you got to gain by expanding and enhancing your expertise in providing additional options and services to you clients?
Thanks to Dina Cheney writing for Florida Realtor Magazine.
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