Virtual Reality Is Changing Real Estate

Jul 18, 2016

By Carrie Rossenfeld

San Diego – Virtual reality is a great tool for buyers to imagine themselves in a space, and the real estate industry is on the cusp of seeing the value in it and embracing it, Zephyr’s co-CEO Brad Termini tells The company’s luxury-condominium project, The Park, Bankers Hill in Downtown San Diego, is still under construction with the completion scheduled for 2017, but prospective buyers can take 3D tours of the luxury project thanks to Zephyr’s new virtual-reality experience.

Zephyr reports that virtual reality is a growing trend in the technology industry, with the market expected to explode over the next 10 years; Goldman Sachs research projects VR will be an $80 billion industry by 2025, the size of today’s PC market.

While VR is being used in multiple applications, Zephyr is one of the first real estate companies in San Diego to utilize the technology to let buyers “tour” units and preview amenities and views before the project is even complete. Donning a VR headset, which fits over users’ eyes and displays 3D images, buyers can turn their heads and look up and down to see comprehensive views of the property.

We spoke exclusively with Termini about how VR is changing real estate and where he sees this trend progressing. How is virtual reality changing the real estate industry?

Termini: Virtual reality is a great tool for buyers to imagine themselves in a space. To feel what it would be like to stand in your living room, look out a window or see how high your ceiling will be in a building that does not yet exist is revolutionary. This technology is not widely used in real estate at this point, and many real estate veterans are seeing virtual reality for the first time when they experience our VR system for our project, The Park, Bankers Hill. Where do you see this technology eventually taking the industry in the future?

Termini: With the accessibility of Google Cardboard – a $15, foldable pair of VR goggles – we think this technology is going to explode. In fact, anyone who has a pair of Google Cardboard goggles can experience The Park VR from the comfort of their home. Early adopters have embraced VR as a fun toy, but as the general public becomes more accustomed to this type of technology, we expect to see foldable VR goggles on Coca-Cola boxes and McDonald’s Happy Meals.

Imagine an on-demand VR experience where a sales agent could change the color of the walls, types of cabinets or countertops at the client’s whim. Being able to change options, see the view out a window at any time of day or quickly switch to any one of the 60 units at The Park are all ideas we are working on for the future. What other emerging technologies do you feel have potential in the real estate realm?

Termini: With many industries providing on-demand services (think Uber, Netflix, Postmates, etc.), we see the buyer of the future needing on-demand updates on their new home. At The Park, for example, we have a 24-hour live camera on the job site, so buyers can see the construction progress at any given time, or watch a time-lapse video of construction. Buyers want instant accessibility to a trusted home sales advisor, and we give that to all of our clients by being available by phone, email or text when they need us.


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