It takes the average home buyer a whole 9 months to find a suitable property, but things are about to change for the better with the arrival of AR in the real estate industry.
Few pursuits are as exciting and simultaneously exhausting as hunting for a new home. It takes dozens of visits to find a suitable option, and each one takes a couple of hours of your time. Your initial enthusiasm quickly gives way to fatigue and even despair – it feels like you’ll never be able to find the perfect house or apartment.
It doesn’t have to be that hard, though. There’s a quiet revolution brewing in the real estate market, and the culprit is the same as in fashion, customer services, interior design, and many other markets: augmented reality.
Of course, AR in real estate goes beyond simple home purchases. One could structure the use cases for this amazing technology as follows:
1) Property catalogs
Your search for a home probably begins with browsing through a catalog. Now imagine that, instead of tiny pictures and near-identical descriptions, you could summon a full-scale 3D model of the property – and even take a walk through it. This is what it looks like:
To make such virtual property visits possible, each item in the catalog must be accompanied by an AR marker or QR code that you scan with your phone. Of course, this works for both online and printed catalogues.
One reason why AR is such a good match for real estate is that the 3D models don’t have to be 100% realistic. Plus, you don’t have to worry about real-time motion tracking. On the other hand, it takes much more time to create an AR double of a house than of, say, a dress. Therefore, far from all real estate agencies can afford to have fully AR-enabled catalogs.
2) Scale models
Apart from virtually visiting the building from the inside, you might want to view it all from the outside and from every angle, as if it were a dollhouse. This is particularly important in the pre-construction stages, when architects and developers present a project to their clients. AR also allows you to confront the model with the blueprint and get additional on-screen information.
Potential buyers don’t even have to be gathered in a meeting room: they can explore the project from their own office or home. More than that: the client can adjust the AR model almost “on the fly,” changing colors, finishes, and materials.
In one of our previous posts, we talked about how AR makes industrial prototyping faster. A similar effect happens here, too: the buyer can participate in the designing of the property. This increases engagement and helps close deals faster.
3) Information about real-life properties
So far, we’ve talked about representing physical buildings as AR models. But augmented reality has another facet: enhancing the objects around you with on-screen text, images, and even videos.
All you have to do is add an AR marker or QR code to a building and make it obvious to people passing by that they should scan the code. Something like “For Sale – Scan Here” works. This will make a lot of people curious: augmented reality is a bit like magic. By pointing their phone at the house, potential buyers will get full information on its price, the number of bedrooms, the agency’s phone number, and so on.
Apart from this basic data, the real estate agent can add photos of the house’s interior, videos, and even a hologram of themselves talking about the house.
The biggest issue left to solve is making such AR experiences web-based. While solutions for real estate already exist, they all depend on apps, and while a home buyer might be willing to download an app to explore a catalog, few people will want to stop and install an app while walking through a neighborhood.
The optimal solution is WebAR – a form of augmented reality that doesn’t require an app, just a QR code or a link. The AR experience is loaded right in your browser. For now, Web AR is still a bit behind app-based AR – mostly because it’s a newer technology and it requires fast mobile internet for experiences to load. But we at Arzilla are 100% sure that in the next couple of years, Web AR will overtake apps and you’ll find it everywhere – on the street, in the supermarket, in the museum, etc. That’s why we’ve made it our main specialization, together with Social AR.
Summing up the advantages
Here’s a quick summary of the benefits that augmented reality brings to everyone in the real estate market:
1) Save lots of time – both for you as a buyer and for real estate agents.
2) Find a better match. You can view hundreds of properties virtually and then visit only those that you really like. You won’t have to settle for a less-than-perfect home just because you’re tired of searching and need to buy something urgently.
3) Compare properties in real time. With AR, you can view one home right after another – or even at the same time on two devices! That way, you’ll be able to make an objective comparison before you forget what you saw.
4) Marketing advantages for real estate agencies. Companies that add AR content to their catalogs or real-life properties get a huge competitive edge. And, as more and more agencies use AR, the general level of quality of the content rises, benefiting us buyers.
5) More foreign investment. Overseas buyers won’t need to travel to view a property or a project in a different country – and that means more shopping malls, housing, cultural venues, entertainment centers, etc.
Last but not least, AR is incredibly engaging. It turns the exhausting process of house-hunting into an exciting game, so that you can actually enjoy yourself while looking for your dream house. And that’s perhaps the greatest advantage of all.
Would you like to experiment with augmented reality in your own marketing? We’d be happy to give you some ideas and share our experience – just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.