How Virtual Reality will Change Real Estate Marketing Game

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

In the first of a two-part series, real estate marketing ninja Sepy Bazzazi unfolds how virtual reality is already transforming home sales

Sepy Bazzazi

A short generation ago, when MLS® listings first became available online, the real estate industry was in a state of excitement and turbulence.

Now roughly 20 years later, even the most old-school REALTOR® has been weaned off of filing cabinets and fax machines and has adapted to the internet age. Today we think back on the early 90s and wonder how we ever managed our real estate listings before the internet.

The introduction of online MLS® was only one of the most recent in a series of fundamental changes in real estate marketing. The Social Media Revolution was another, even more recent one. Major improvements and shifts in the way real estate business is conducted have been happening since as far back as we know.

“In the late 1800s, real estate brokers regularly gathered at the offices of their local associations to share information about properties they were trying to sell. They agreed to compensate other brokers who helped sell those properties, and the first MLS was born, based on a fundamental principle that’s unique to organized real estate: Help me sell my inventory and I’ll help you sell yours.” (Wikipedia)

Real estate ninjas who have remained agile and spotted opportunity in the changing landscape are the ones who have always levelled-up over the years. If you are a modern real estate marketer who has a grip on the current state of affairs, you might be wondering “What’s the next game-changing trend that REALTORS® should be aware of?”

Enter Virtual Reality

As a concept, virtual reality, or VR, has been around since the early 1960s. The many iterations of VR over the years have each been incrementally better than the last, but in 2014 when Facebook acquired Oculus Rift for $2 billion, things changed. Now there is a variety of competitors in the market; from general options such as Samsung Gear VR (powered by Oculus) or Google Cardboard to even some real estate-specific products such as Matterport. This product creates immersive virtual reality tours of homes, commercial spaces and places, and was first brought to Vancouver in 2014 by LNG Studios, a local 3D rendering and animation practice.

OK, so you might be thinking, “I already have virtual tours for my listings, so I’m all set”.

But virtual tours and virtual reality are completely different. You might have a YouTube video that was filmed by a cameraman walking through the property. If you’re really cool you’re probably showing visitors a 360-degree photograph of the different rooms in the property. They can use the mouse to control where they are looking, etc. This is definitely a virtual tour, but it is certainly not virtual reality.

Today, virtual reality has reached heights that are truly mind-bending. If you haven’t seen the photo-realism and total immersion that is possible with a VR headset, watch this video by VR Global in New York right now:


Pretty awesome, right? Now imagine the potential of virtual reality marketing for your real estate business. If you don’t have the time to imagine, fret not – there’s a number of current and upcoming VR marketing opportunities for Canadian REALTORS®.

Efficiency and Innovation

How many times have you spent an entire Saturday and Sunday driving your client around the city, taking them to 10+ properties that they are “serious” about? Trade in your fancy sports car for a VR headset and change the fundamental way you do business.

Your client is not actually serious about 10 listings, so why not boil those 10 down to two or three before you take them out to the physical address? With VR you will be able to take your clients through a detailed home tour from the comfort of your office or even their living room – in hours, not days. Just hand them the VR headset, load the VR tour of the property, and run your pitch.

Your client will be looking through the headset at their virtual property in awe. As they “stand” in the property and look around, they will be delighted at how cutting edge their REALTOR® is and shocked at how incredibly realistic the whole VR experience feels. Meanwhile, you will be able to monitor what they are looking at, so that you can actually cater the home tour to them with a relevant, live narrative.

By the way, I’m not talking about some concept that is years away. This is happening right now in the real estate industry around North America. In an interview with, Sotheby’s real estate agent Matthew Hood said:

“I can lead a VR tour remotely and even see where the client is looking, which allows me to address things like a kitchen counter style while they’re looking at it, just as I would in a real world tour.” (Full interview here)

For your business in particular, VR marketing has the potential to save you dozens of hours a month. Imagine what you could do with your free time.


In the second of a two-part series, real estate marketing ninja Sepy Bazzazi explains the next level of virtual reality in presales, gamification and neighbourhood tours


Sepy Bazzazi RealtyNinja

April 6, 2016


Presale Tours

Have you ever walked a client through the sample unit or showroom of an undeveloped building?

Many overseas buyers are online right now, checking out units in these undeveloped buildings, interested in purchasing ASAP. These people don’t have the means to come see the sample unit or showroom first hand, so they rely heavily on whatever they can find online to help them make their initial decision.

Luckily, the building they are interested in has a VR tour available for every different unit type. The overseas investor can throw on a VR headset and completely immerse themselves in the unit from thousands of miles away. They can walk around, look in any direction, examine unit features more closely and get a real idea of the space. Just by using VR, you’re already ahead of most the competition.

If you were wondering about local buyers, know this: the showroom of the future will simply be an office with numerous VR headsets on desks. Prospective local buyers will walk in, put on the VR headsets and have an agent guide them through the VR tour with live narrative. This gives you the ability, if you wish, to show the unit to thousands of people at the same time.

There are also other ways to enhance the VR showing experience, one of which we cover in the next section.

Listing VR Gamification

Virtual reality technology is going to make the biggest splash in the gaming industry. The same super nerds that were raised in part by video games are now the geniuses who are at the forefront of global technology. Guess what? They are actually building things they fantasized about as a kid.

The point is that virtual reality is not just a visual medium, it’s an interactive art form – it’s gaming, no matter how you chop it up. People who use your VR tours in the future are basically just playing a real estate video game (with real life outcomes, of course).

So why not make your real estate video game the best one out there?

What if, using your VR tours, your clients could change the paint on the walls with the touch of a button? Add a Persian rug or go full hardwood? Go full stainless steel in the kitchen and add a new 60-inch flat screen? Plan a full renovation, or just the removal of some walls? Once they are done “renovating,” potential clients can save their progress for later to share with family and friends. The result: they keep coming back to your website.

If you can be the first real estate agent who gamifies well in your market… the first who offers people a way to customize YOUR listings to THEIR liking?! Fuhgeddaboudit.

Immersive Neighbourhoods

Another opportunity worth exploring is the idea of free-roaming around a specific neighbourhood – from the comfort of your favourite chair (even that chair). We can already do this to some degree with Google Street View, but when virtual reality takes a firm hold on the world, this experience is going to be wildly different and highly dynamic.

Many agents currently showcase the neighbourhoods they serve on their website. Some use nice photos and others even produce beautiful videos. They do this to earn relevant traffic and to express their expertise and understanding of the niche.

Real estate ninjas of the future will complement their beautiful photos and videos on their site with immersive neighbourhood experiences. In less than 10 years, you will be browsing real estate websites and reading call to actions that say things like “Walk the Stanley Park Seawall in VR”, and “Drive across the Lions Gate Bridge in VR.”

Of course, when you start getting into VR neighbourhood tours, things can get pretty hectic pretty fast. Local businesses would get involved, and then so would advertisers. I wonder how the virtual neighbourhoods of the future will end up looking…

The truth is, there are a vast many possibilities when it comes to the virtual realm. I have covered a modest few of them here and hope that you will discover some unique ones of your own. With time and dedication, we’ll learn to harness the true power of Virtual Reality Marketing together.

Our goal at RealtyNinja is to make sure you’re always aware of the modern marketing opportunities available to you today, and in the future. And we’re not the only ones who believe virtual reality will play a role in the future of real estate. Inman said in January that VR is one of three trends agents should look out for.

I hope this two-part series has helped inspire the entrepreneur within each of you. If you have any questions, or would like to chat more, feel free to get in touch with me directly.

© 2016 Real Estate Weekly

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