27 September 2023

Virtual real estate: Could VR be the answer to the open house ban?

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Ryan O’Grady* says virtual reality could be just the solution we need in the new world of social distancing.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and Kindred Property Group’s fully immersive virtual reality (VR) real estate solutions could be just the solution we need in the new world of social distancing and infection fears.

Kindred Property Group is already ahead of the game with their future-focused VR, however, they may have also stumbled on a great solution for a major challenge hitting the real estate market in the weeks ahead, now that people are not permitted to attend open homes.

The Brisbane-based business is using VR technology not only as a point of difference, they’ve also opened their agency in a very non-traditional location.

The home of virtual real estate

Kindred Property Group CEO, Josh Kindred was determined to think outside the square when considering where to locate his real estate shopfront.

Having served the Brisbane region for almost 12 years in various locations, he was mindful of what consumers actually want from a real estate experience.

His solution was innovative, yet surprisingly simple.

Kindred opened a shopfront inside one of Queensland’s premier shopping centres, Westfield North Lakes.

It’s not your average real estate office, however.

It’s fully equipped with custom-made VR technology that gives customers the opportunity to “walk through” as many properties as they wish, be they rentals or sales.

Daniel Lyngcoln, Kindred’s Chief Marketing Officer, explains that “the virtual real estate stations located in this retail environment allow multiple customers to view countless properties at their own leisure, or supported by one of our Customer Care team members”.

Multiple ‘inspections’ from the comfort of Kindred’s VR lounge

In addition to the recently arisen benefit of infection control, there are many other advantages for customers when employing this VR technology.

A typical experience for a buyer is to visit several properties before starting the negotiations for purchase.

This is an extremely time-consuming and emotionally draining process.

But throw in some VR technology and a buyer can view multiple properties from the comfort of Kindred’s VR lounge before starting any real-life inspections.

Properties with VR listings are available around the clock and from anywhere around the globe.

Plus, there are considerable savings on the more traditional advertising methods.

A panoramic camera and some clever computer graphics can transform a listing into a multi-dimensional, 360-degree experience.

There’s no need for traditional photo shoots and printed adverts.

In fact, often there’s no need for traditional real-life staging either.

VR can take care of that for you, thereby showing the full future potential of a property.

Buying off the plan also seems less risky when you’ve “walked through” the finished product.

Fully immersive customer experience

Obviously, 3D videos are nothing new.

Many online property advertisements also incorporate base level VR technology in the form of videos, often in 3D format.

Research by www.realestate.com.au shows that people spend more time on property listings that include a 3D tour compared with those listings that don’t.

Kindred Property Group has taken it a step further by using VR headsets, making the experience fully immersive.

Daniel Lyngcoln says it’s a solution they have “created in-house with a team of software and virtual reality experts to create more accessibility for customers”.

The new location has also increased customer engagement, with plenty of foot traffic already moving through the busy shopping centre.

And the VR experience has certainly piqued people’s interest.

As a result, Kindred hasn’t just sold properties; they’ve received appraisal requests and tenancy applications, too — a sure sign they’re succeeding in engaging with their community and supporting them on their real estate journey.

Josh Kindred is aware that to remain competitive in the cut-throat real estate sector, it’s vital to remain relevant.

VR is just one aspect of property tech that will keep the real estate industry moving forward.

While technology can be seen as a disruption, it can also present new opportunities.

With open homes now banned due to infection fears, technology could be the answer to help keep the wheels, and sales, turning.

Don’t be surprised to see more virtual open homes, tours, inspections, meetings and appraisals popping up on a screen near you soon.

* Ryan O’Grady is Chief Executive Officer at NetpointGroup.

This article first appeared at www.business2.com.au.

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