When looking for commercial real estate to lease or purchase how many hours have you spent looking at office space photos or physically touring the spaces? If you have been in the commercial real estate business as long as I have or are a company that has leased a few commercial properties you have probably spent many hours looking at commercial spaces before deciding which one is right for your business. Well Virtual Reality is about to change all that.
What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Realty (VR) is a computer generated technology that allows you to see 3 dimensional images or environments that you can seemingly or physically interact with using headsets, glasses with a screen inside, or other electronic equipment. Virtual reality is currently known more for the gaming industry however some companies are testing the new technology in residential and commercial real estate
Virtual Reality Technology and Commercial Real Estate
Current marketing practices for properties of most commercial real estate companies is by posting videos, photos, and flyers on the internet for people to see their commercial spaces that they have available for lease or sale. For the tenant or buyer the only way to get a real feel for the property is to physically see it. With VR the prospect may not even have to be in the same zip code of the property to see it. From their office or home they can put on the VR glasses and feel like they are physically in the space.
If it works out using virtual reality in commercial real estate can be a game changer and make previewing commercial spaces much easier and faster. VR will change the way commercial tenants do their commercial property site selection and planning before having to physically tour commercial spaces. This will also be a great tool for investors looking to buy commercial investment properties in different cities, states, or countries.
There are some major steps to climb however as the VR technology gets better more and more commercial real estate companies will experiment with ways to improve their ability to lease and sell properties. There may not even be a need to visit some commercial properties before leasing or buying them as you will be able to see everything you need to see by just putting on some VR glasses. You can even buy or lease space across the country.
With VR these CRE firms will be able to actually PUT a potential buyer or tenant in the space, enabling them to look around and get an idea of what it would be like to occupy and work in the space. Then within an instant the prospect could be PUT into another property for viewing. VR has the ability to capture the attention of prospects for up to 5 minutes or longer.
Other uses for virtual reality in commercial real estate will be to see raw land, touring to be built properties, looking at building interior mockups, etc. And all this can be done without having to spend money on travel back and forth.
Seeing Commercial Spaces with VR Can Save Time and Money
Most decision makers have a lot on their plate and having to fly or drive across the country to look at multiple locations is very time consuming. However by being able to virtual tour commercial spaces they will be able to view spaces across different cities all within minutes thus saving valuable time.
Also when touring spaces it can be hard to envision how it would work for your company once it's finished out with a different layout, furniture, etc. VR will allow tenants to view sample floor plans so they can see what an unfinished space would look like after the build-out is completed.
I don't think that physical tours of commercial spaces will go away however virtual reality will cut down on the time needed to physically tour them. VR is still new and the cost cost and expertise is high which will making adopting the use of VR slow. However as the costs go down you will eventually see more commercial property owners using it so that buyers and tenants can more easily view their spaces.