VR has emerged as a powerful tool in the selling of real estate. Source: Shutterstock

Singaporean startup aims to revolutionize house hunting with VR

WHILE virtual reality (VR) is commonly associated with the gaming world, it is revolutionizing many industries including retail, education, travel and healthcare. And VR has now emerged as a powerful tool in the selling of real estate, an industry typically faced with inconveniences in timing and location for buyer, seller and realtor alike.

VR tours seek to be a solution to this issue. All that is required is a smartphone app and a VR headset, and with this, users can engage in a virtually guided tour of their dream homes.

This evokes the question: is it necessary for a realtor to be present at a house viewing?

Singaporean proptech startup Panoleh aims to make the lives of both agents and clients easier with VR tours, with particular focus on international buyers.

Singapore startup Panoleh enables users to produce virtual tours in less than 10 minutes. Source: Panoleh.

VR real estate tours aim to make the home-showing process a simple and seamless procedure for clients. The technology allows users to enter a simulated 3D environment where they can get a real feel for the property they are viewing.

Though VR is still relatively new to Singapore, the proptech is taking off with real estate companies who are experimenting with the 3D video tours in order to showcase properties to clients.

These tours can even showcase off-plan properties to prospective buyers, giving them a sense of layouts and floor-plans in a simulated world before construction has even started. Clients can even view samples of materials available in the prospective bathrooms and kitchens of properties.

This VR technology has the potential to save companies a lot of money, replacing the need for a bricks and mortar showroom.

Source: Shutterstock.com

“Panoleh is very effective; it shows all details of my marketing unit and brings only the most qualified buyer. I manage to close a sale with two viewings,” said Mike Xu, associate sales director at KF property network Pte Ltd.

“It saved me so much time, reduced so many ups and downs. I think it’s a must for all agents to use it to close more, close smart,” he added.

With new homes and facilities being very expensive to construct, VR allows clients to have an early input on property design to better conform to their vision.

Robert Kendal, chief executive of Toronto-based Yulio, an app that turns designs into virtual reality scenes, told South China Morning Post that VR could bridge the gap between “designer vision and client perception”.

But the biggest impact VR technology will have on the market is on overseas property purchases. Foreign buyers are becoming increasingly influential in the real estate industry, with Chinese buyers leading the Vancouver markets to skyrocket.

“This is the future of technology and soon buyers will be able to look at properties in Singapore while they’re sitting at dinner in China,” says Panoleh CEO Jackson Chong.

“Prospective buyers will be able to get an intimate feel for a home without going inside and looking.”

Overseas clients can use VR when considering properties in different counties. Virtual tours enable clients to help narrow down which areas to visit in order to make a final decision.

Neo Zheng, an analyst at market research company, International Data Corp told South China Morning Post: “I think for overseas property purchases it’s going to be a necessity… If they want to choose a house from Australia or the United States or Japan, they’re probably going to choose from the VR and then decide to fly to that country.”