VR to transform house hunting | Sunday Herald
* THIS INTERVIEW WITH WILL FIRST APPEARED IN ‘THE SCOTTISH SUNDAY HERALD’ *
Househunters will soon be snapping up a new home using virtual reality and personalised drones, according to a report predicting future trends in the property business.
Physically visiting a property before buying it will become increasingly less common by 2025 as virtual reality enables prospective owners to explore a three-dimensional replica of a home for sale without ever leaving the estate agents’ showroom, with homebuyers even able to experience the feel and smell of a property remotely.
Meanwhile, most Britons are forecast to own a personalised drone within the next decade which can be dispatched to compile a report on a particular neighbourhood, including what the residents are like, how busy nearby roads are and other information not traditionally available to buyers.
The report by trends analysts, The Future Laboratory, was based on interviews with a panel of property and technology experts asked to consider how the UK’s property sector will change from 2020 and beyond as new technologies radically reshape home selling and buying.
Rob Ellice, chief executive of easyProperty, which commissioned the report, said: “Many of the future technologies predicted in the report already exist in other sectors, albeit at nascent stage.
“A small number of buyers are taking virtual tours of luxury homes but it will not be long until these tours will move into the mainstream property market, partly driven by the internalisation of the industry.”
He said that most buyers would use a virtual reality tour as a “first viewing” to whittle down their options and speed up the sales process, with follow up second viewing in person.
Mr Ellice added that the emergence of new technologies will shake up estate agents as thoroughly as Uber has affected the taxi and private hire sector in major cities across the globe.
He said: “This ‘Uber’ moment is fast approaching, a newly emerging prop-tech sector is driving innovation at an astounding rate in a market that has been, until now, slow to innovate.
“Incorporating these exciting tech advances will enhance the business of buying, selling and letting houses, but also radically improve the customer experience.”
The report also predicts that the arrival of VR to the mass market will soon allow home buyers to see how the property they are viewing will look with their own furniture in it, or with their choice of paint or wallpaper.
They will even be able to virtually redesign and DIY any property they are viewing using Heads Up Display (HUD) glasses, or hold interactive chats with the builder or seller via hologram.
Futurist William Higham said: “By voice or eye command, you will be able to instruct the glasses to virtually redecorate a room in your preferred colours, remove the seller’s furnishings and replace them with your own.”
“Augmented Reality technology within the glasses will show you how your virtually refitted room will look, giving you a much clearer idea of how the house might look if you lived there.”
Matt Ratcliffe, co-founder of virtual reality software development studio, Masters of Pie, added: “For estate agencies, virtual reality will be a no-brainer because it will let people feel like they are actually in a space, exploring it, and building up a relationship with it.”
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