No more tedious open houses? -- be careful what you wish for

by 11 Sep 2015
By John Tenpenny

Beware, agents: The time when homebuyers can see a home without the help of a Realtor may not be as far off as you think given new application of virtual reality technology.

The Matthew Hood Real Estate Group at Sotheby’s International Realty has begun experimenting with Samsung Gear VR as a new showcase for multi-million dollar homes based in Los Angeles, as well as luxury residences in the Hamptons and in New York City.

Hood says the types of homes this works best for today are high-end homes, because the cost of scanning a home for VR ranges from $300-$700.

VR lets Hood show homes from across the country or across the world, and get the same view as the buyer.

“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,” Hood says.

Hood is pushing to create a network across Sotheby’s offices, so that when he has a listing, the San Francisco office can access that content for its buyers.

But Hood doesn’t believe buyers will be cutting out agents anytime soon.

“Buying a home completely in VR may be possible, but not for another 15 to 20 years,” Hood says. “There are complications involving homes that require expertise and continue to require third-party involvement.”

Hood believes VR will trickle down to lower-priced homes for everyday sales within five years.

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