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Rightmove trials VR as another agency launches virtual viewings

Rightmove has begun testing a virtual reality viewing platform which will allow prospective buyers to view properties without leaving their own home.

The trial tours, organised through north London agency Martyn Gerrard, can be viewed on a smartphone through a Google Cardboard headset.

The tours were put together using a camera rig with six connected GoPro cameras and the resulting footage has been stitched together to create a 'fully immersive' 360-degree video.

The virtual reality tours, for a £2.5 million mansion and a new development in Finchley, are available on Rightmove's YouTube channel.

They can be viewed using a Google Cardboard headset or through the 360-degree video app, Littlstar.

Martyrn Gerrard will also be promoting the tours to prospective buyers at its Finchley and Whetstone offices.

“Rightmove is always looking for innovative new ways to make the process of searching for and buying a house even easier, and this is an interesting avenue we wanted to explore," says Rightmove's head of innovation, Hannes Buhrmann.

"With this approach, potential buyers could get more of a feel for properties and choose ones to visit that really suit their requirements. It could make the whole process more time efficient for buyers, agents and vendors.”

The upsurge in agents using virtual reality technology has also been demonstrated by Nottingham firm Walton & Allen.

The two branch agency says it is the first in the UK – if not the world – to produce tours on a large scale for almost all of its properties for sale or to let.

Walton & Allen has partnered with NewtonMedia.TV to produce tours which can be viewed through virtual reality headsets.

NewtonMedia says its tours allow prospective buyers to stand outside of a property and see how busy the local roads are for example, and include local features like parks and markets.

"We want to reduce the number of unnecessary viewings sellers have to go through before achieving a sale,” says Phil Williams, director of residential sales at Walton & Allen.

“It's all very well estate agents bragging a house has had 27 viewings but that's 27 times the seller has had to tidy up and set their time aside for people who, had they seen the artex on the ceiling or tiny third bedroom beforehand wouldn't have wasted their time.”

The agency says it is making no attempt to replace actual viewings but is trying to knock down scheduling and access obstacles faced by agents and vendors on a regular basis.

One of Rightmove’s trial tours is embedded below and you can view one of Walton & Allen’s tours here.

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    This is all very well but if you are a serious buyer or seller, though, surely tidying your home for a viewing or attending a viewing is not going to be a problem.

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    These very distorted pictures are worthwhile and better than well taken still photographs with a good floor plan? In my view certainly not!

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    Agreed Ray! Although I think the point is they won't be distorted if you wear a headset, but who's got one of those anyway?

     
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    Well about 5 million people to date and growing massively - google cardboard is stupidly cheap to produce, as long as you arent racing to the bottom on price you should be able to provide them free to new applicants (in bulk you will be talking a few pence each). The sense of perspective and space is something you just cannot do with a photograph and how many people actually have a grasp of what floorplans mean in the real world?

     
  • Jon Clarke

    Having attended Property Tech in London a couple of weeks ago and working with a few VR 360 Video/Drone companies who produce excellent professional VR video fly throughs, CGI or 3D static walk throughs I'd be happy to answer any of your questions. The quality above yes can be better, and no, it doesn't have to be super expensive. A large number of estate agents at PropertyTech all said that it brought more viewings to their websites, gave them a competitive edge attracting vendors, had no problem showing all property high-end or not, reduced overall viewings giving their sales people more time to offer a quality service, also the quality of the viewings increased, conversion to sale increased and some were even were able to increase the vendor price of the property, because of greater interest when they placed the house on Facebook for a virtual open-day event. The buyer likes it as they can really work out which of the several properties they want to see, they can also virtually go back and re-view a property in case they'd forgotten something like the type of kitchen layout, windows, bath/shower etc... You can use a headset for total immersion in the experience, but YouTube and Facebook 360 video can be easily also viewed on a mobile without the extra gear and works fine to give enough perspective. In reality every estate agent and house builder will be using this in year's time. The public expect it. Granted the older generation are slower to take this up, but the younger ones are not put off at all and enjoy the experience. VR will be part of everyone's life in a a couple of years, so being proactive and embracing this quickly would be a good idea. If you'd like to know who we use please feel free to contact me for some free advice jon@spaceandtime.co.uk Director of Innovation.
    The public will use this as a tool. Overseas investors will use it to view many off-plan or residential live units saving themselves a fortune. CGI Virtual Reality created from architects' CAD files also allows a buyer to swap room furniture and furnishings, lighting, etc at the flick of a button. There is a lot more to come in this area and we are finding it a pro-active sales tool for all.

  • Richard Watkins

    I certainly echo what Jon Clarke has to say about the use of this technology for the property industry. I have been creating CGI property visualisations for the past 20 years and I see this method of viewing property becoming an industry standard over the next 2-3 years especially as the mobile phone manufacturers embrace this form of media and build the ability to view VR into the phone software as standard and as the 360 cameras become cheap and accessible. I agree that there will always be a need to see a good floor plans and property images as this is the quickest and simplest way to catch someones eye when trawling through a website, but the thing that this material cannot do is demonstrate a complete 360 real world scale viewing experience.
    We have been using this VR technique to help property developers and estate agents sell ‘new build’ and ‘off plan’ property for the last few years where it is physically impossible to see or access the site ( as it doesn’t exist or is in mid construction) and we have found it definitely speeds up the decision making process as the buyer get an instant immersive experience of the internal and external spaces of the property they are interested in. In fact I am a typical example of this type of customer as I recently purchased an off plan property and my decision on purchasing the property was made on the VR experience I made for my self of the plot I was interested in, as the developers were unable to provide any material good enough that demonstrated the size of the plot in relation to it’s surrounding buildings and I was 50/50 if I was going to purchase the property. By creating the VR experience I was able see the size of each room, the size of the gardens and also make a quick ’time of day study’ so I could see if the garden would get an adequate amount of sun as the plots on the site were all positioned very close together and I had concerns that our garden would be in shadow a lot of the day … which fortunately it wasn’t and it matched pretty much exactly what I created and experienced in the VR I made.
    If anybody would like to ask me any questions about VR I would be happy to answer them as I have a wealth of practical experience making this content …you can find us at… www.imaginar.co.uk …or contact me directly on info@imaginar.co.uk

  • Neil Young

    At Andrew Young Estate Agents in Sutton Coldfield we've been offering full 360 Degree Virtual Tours and 360 Degree Video Tours to all our Vendors and Landlords for the past year now, and at no additional cost, as we feel this is a great tool to help them sell or let their properties. You can view our YouTube 360 Video's here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLnZjiRhTtkG1zo_dlDRUANwRpyT_IOYRC or visit our website here http://andrewyoungestateagents.co.uk. For more info email me at neil@andrewyoungestateagents.co.uk

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    Virtual Reality tours and 3D virtual tours in my view are the future of property marketing.

    Imagine you are a homebuyer searching on Rightmove and you notice a property that has a 3D Virtual Tour that allows you to have a 99.9% accurate viewing of the property online, where you can walk around and explore as though you were really there, you would click to view the tour wouldn't you? Of course you would, it's convenient, it's efficient, it's accurate and it's exactly the kind of tool you would want as a buyer searching for a home online. Not to mention if you like what you see, chances are you will arrange a real life viewing and because you already know exactly what to expect, you're much more likely to put in an offer! It weeds out unproductive viewings with time wasters and speeds up the sales cycle, brilliant! It's state-of-the-art technology doing what good technology should do best - make lives easier.

    If you're not yet totally convinced, here are some additional reasons why you should introduce 3D virtual tours into your estate agency!

    ✓ Helps to sell or let properties faster

    ✓ Makes the property a 24/7 open-house online

    ✓ 100% accurate! So It’s just like being there

    ✓ Can be viewed anytime, from anywhere, on your website, Rightmove, Zoopla, Primelocation and many more

    ✓ Virtual Reality Compatible with Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR headsets

    ✓ Buyers or tenants who see the tour first and then arrange a viewing are much more likely to make an offer

    ✓ No more time wasting! Pre-qualify buyers and reduce the number of unnecessary viewings sellers and agents have to go through before achieving a sale

    ✓ Proven to increase engagement with potential buyers & tenants
    by up to 300%

    ✓ Due to the quality of the product, Sellers and Letters have shown that they are usually more than happy to pay, meaning you don’t have to risk any additional marketing expense

    ✓ If you wish, you can even make additional revenue by charging the client your own price

    ✓ Stay ahead of your competition with the best property marketing available

    ✓ A powerful tool for winning new business and closing deals

    ✓ Due to the engagement and interest 3D virtual tours help generate for a property, they often help sell it for more than the asking price!

    Like I said, I believe it's the future of property marketing, so in my eyes, it's a case of stay ahead and benefit from first mover advantage now, or inevitably play catch up with your competition in the future. In this day and age, you wouldn't upload a property without a photo would you? Well in the future, we believe it will be considered just as foolish to advertise a property without a 3d virtual tour. So why not add another string to your bow before everybody else?

    If you're interested in offering 3D virtual tours in your estate agency, please visit the property marketing professionals: www.viewscape.co.uk or email me a jharris@viewscape.co.uk or feel free to call me on 07752036168 to find out how we can help you introduce 3D Virtual Tours in your property listings

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