Virtual Reality in Real Estate: A Game Changer for Property Viewings

Virtual reality (VR) technology has been steadily gaining traction in recent years, and its adoption accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns and restrictions made traditional real estate processes, such as house tours and sales agreements, nearly impossible.

According to a 2022 study by the Centre of Studies for Estate Management at Universiti Teknologi Mara, 27.3% of respondents within the real estate industry were already familiar with VR tours. Additionally, a 2023 report by Zipdo revealed that VR tours can save up to 60% of unproductive property viewings and increase the likelihood of renting or selling a property by 130%. The report also highlighted that 60% of home buyers value virtual and 3D home tours when browsing online listings, and it estimated that there will be 216 million VR users in real estate by 2025.

As a result, the real estate market has become one of the primary areas of application for virtual reality technology. VR tours offer numerous advantages over traditional property viewings. Many real estate agents and homeowners now consider staging a home through VR tours as essential for attracting potential buyers. This technology has become more accessible to the public, making it easier than ever to view a property from the comfort of one’s own home.

With today’s technology, traditional photos and videos often fall short. VR tours provide a more immersive and realistic experience, making viewers feel as though they are physically present on the property. They can gain a genuine sense of the layout, flow, size, and feel of the rooms, aiding them in making informed decisions about the property’s suitability.

However, not all developers or agents can offer VR tours, as they can be expensive to produce. The cost of creating a VR property tour varies based on factors like the development’s size and complexity, the required level of detail, and the experience of the production team. In general, crafting a decent VR experience can cost anywhere from RM3,000 to RM10,000 or more.

The technology required to produce VR tours is also relatively new and costly to acquire. It is typically affordable only for prominent developers. In Malaysia’s competitive property market, these developers are willing to invest in high-quality VR tours to expedite property sales. Despite the high costs, VR tours are gaining popularity and recognition in Malaysia for the immersive experiences they offer.

VR tours cannot entirely replace traditional property viewings. Not every individual in Malaysia is technologically savvy, and many older individuals prefer familiar viewing methods. Moreover, VR cannot replicate the physical experience of visiting a property in person, where potential buyers can touch and feel the materials used in construction.

It is essential to recognize that buyers still need to visit a property in person to assess its true condition and have their questions answered by agents. For many, VR tours serve as a preliminary filter to determine a property’s suitability.

There is also a concern that VR tours might lead buyers, especially first-time buyers, to make impulsive decisions without fully understanding the property. These tours can create a false sense of reality, emphasizing only the positive aspects of the property and potentially hiding defects.

Despite these challenges, VR tours can be a valuable tool for real estate developers in Malaysia. They offer potential buyers a better understanding of properties and help reduce the number of physical viewings required, saving time and effort compared to traditional methods.

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