The Next Real Estate Tool: Augmented Reality

The Charlotte Area real estate market has seen the benefit from one type of “virtual” technology. Just click on any listing’s “virtual tour” button and a progression of two-dimensional views of the listed property parade across your laptop or phone screen.

The virtual tour listings are real estate’s first step toward “VR”—Virtual Reality. VR helps viewers to move around within three-dimensional renderings of computer-generated environments. If you have seen those recent TV commercials depicting delighted VR goggle-wearers experiencing animated fictional worlds, you get the concept. As it relates to real estate, though, there is a slightly different emerging technology.

What’s coming might best be described as half-way between today’s virtual tours and full virtual reality. It combines the “real world” and “virtual world” for what is known as “AR” or Augmented Reality.  AR allows consumers to superimpose computer-generated images into real life scenes.

Some AR applications are already popping up, with more on the way thanks to the support computer operating system updates that enable software developers to create new applications and tools that leverage augmented reality.

IKEA, for example, has developed an application to help customers envision how furniture might look in their own home. And this just the beginning. We believe many Charlotte Area homeowners have access to new AR remodeling aids to help them visualize their individual design choices in the near future.

We believe house hunters will also benefit. Developers at Realtor.com web developers have introduced Street Peak and Sign Snap to allow house hunters to point their smartphone at a house, and learn whether that house is for sale, the listing price or most recent sale price, and other information drawn from the NAR database.

For Charlotte Area new home buyers choosing model home variations as well as for builders desiring to show how an unfinished space might look, the only current drawback appears to be the difference between the look of the “real thing” and the computer-generated image. And we believe that differentiation will disappear soon.

Whether your buying or selling, you can count on us to help keep you informed of the latest tools and technologies affecting the real estate market.

David Harkins is NC Real Estate Broker and REALTOR®. Before working in Real Estate, he had a fulfilling career in business consulting and marketing, advising both large and small companies including several in the Fortune 500 and many of America’s largest nonprofit organizations. In his spare time, he consults, speaks, writes, hikes, explores, and creates art. Although, not necessarily in that order.

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