Real Estate is Going Virtual: VR Property and Exploration Tours

Maximize your satellite imagery and 3D maps.

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Aug 11, 2022

Real Estate is Going Virtual: VR Property and Exploration Tours

Maximize your satellite imagery and 3D maps.

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Aug 11, 2022

As the coronavirus pandemic shifted real estate sales to online spaces, sellers missed out on customers and customers missed out on their dream homes. Only those companies who were able to adapt to the changing landscape avoided these losses. Prior to the pandemic, the primary way people checked out locations was through physical tours led by a real estate agent.

That mindset has since shifted, with countless buyers turning to virtual property tours first, before committing to see a home in person. Through advancements in VR technology and increased demand caused by the pandemic, online tours have replaced physical ones as the first step in a property transaction. Maximizing the VR tour experience will help buyers and sellers of land, homes, and other properties succeed in their real estate endeavors.

Why Virtual Tours Got a Pandemic Boost

As the coronavirus pandemic limited mobility and in-person options, virtual tours changed from an efficient alternative to the necessary medium for home tours. Before the pandemic, touring property in person was the norm. With limited in-person options available during pandemic lockdowns, many property customers turned to virtual options. VR tours shifted from a helpful element to a vital step in property sales.

In addition to solving issues brought on by the pandemic, virtual technology also saves buyers and sellers time and money. Instead of scheduling a physical tour with an agent only to find out a place wasn’t the right fit, the buyer can now view a property efficiently and on their own time. For several years, real estate companies have been employing new technology to give buyers a more accurate preview before they arrive on site. 

What is VR Technology?

VR, or Virtual Reality, is technology that allows a viewer to immerse themselves in a 3-Dimensional space from anywhere. With the appropriate computer and headset, an individual can log on to maps, photos, or even games and virtually wander around the given space. For real estate, this means touring a property without ever needing to visit it in person. 

During the pandemic, virtual tours of land and homes began to increase in popularity, allowing potential customers to get a feel for a location before deciding to visit in person. Even as the world returned to some pre-pandemic normalcy, virtual tour options have remained popular with buyers and sellers. As consumers have become more comfortable using VR tech to preview a property before deciding to engage further, sellers need to adapt to stay competitive.

Benefits of Using VR for Land, Home, and Property Tours

The increased popularity of VR technology in property tours benefits both the customer and the seller in real estate transactions, saving both parties time and money.

Benefits for the Customer

In-person property tours have drawbacks. It costs time and money to find out how much a place costs, where it is located, and how it feels to a visitor is difficult to communicate without an on-site experience.  

VR tours solve these problems. With virtual tour technology, a customer is given the autonomy to engage with a space how and when they want to. Recent research shows that virtual tours reduce wasted viewings by 40%. 

For out-of-state or international buyers, a virtual tour is essential. Without VR tours, non-local buyers would have limited options for engaging with a property. With VR tech, they can see a location from a first-person perspective even if they are on the other side of the globe. This vastly expands access for customers, as they can view a distant property without taking time off of work or buying costly plane tickets.

Benefits for the Seller

In addition to widening the market of prospective buyers, VR tours provide several other benefits to property sellers. Not only do real estate listings with VR technology get 87% more views than those without, but those views also lead to higher customer retention. Customers who have the option of touring a space virtually are more likely to book an in-person visit, leading to a higher volume of sales for the property agent.

Virtual tours are not only lucrative for the property seller - they are also efficient. Virtual tours are a great way to filter out uninterested customers, as such customers can decide against a space before scheduling an in-person tour. Customers who decide a place is not right for them after a virtual tour save the seller time and money, allowing the seller to allocate resources only to those customers who are more likely to buy the property.

Additionally, VR and mapping technologies are a great regulatory resource for the property seller. Providing accurate square footage and measurements is a legal concern for the seller. Virtual and mapping technology help the seller communicate these points transparently to prospective buyers to avoid any confusion, as the buyers can see the physical measurements of a space and employ helpful VR tools to quantify this data themselves.

Finally, a virtual tour can increase the size of the buyer pool who might have an interest in the property. Out-of-state or international buyers who are interested in buying a property in your area can now view your property, whereas it might have been missed before.

How Mapbox Can Help Maximize the VR Experience

Mapbox is committed to providing the best satellite imagery and 3D maps to help prospective buyers truly experience a space without actually going there. Using the Camera API, sellers can create free-form views that allow a customer to move across a virtual landscape. New advancements in adaptive projections allow the viewer to move from small-scale to global views seamlessly - zooming between close-up photos and a birds-eye view has never been smoother. Sellers and buyers can load and style large maps in seconds, providing a great virtual experience for everyone involved.

In our post-pandemic world, customers have come to rely on virtual real estate interfaces. Whether buying or selling land, homes, or other property, make sure that your VR touring experience is up to par with Mapbox’s satellite imagery and 3D maps.

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Maps feature data from Mapbox © Mapbox, OpenStreetMap © OpenStreetMap and their data partners, including Maxar (if applicable, © Maxar).