Why it’s Time to Pump the Brakes on Virtual Reality


Over the past year, virtual reality has been crowned “the next big thing” by many residential real estate professionals. Agents are eager to use the technology to gain a competitive advantage by being the first to use VR for their listings.

Although you might be tempted to hop on the virtual reality hype-train as well, you may want to consider holding off……for a few years. Here’s why:

Consumer Adoption Rate is Low

Greenlight VR and Road to VR issued a 2016 Virtual Reality Industry Report that offered a 10-year plan for VR. According to their report, the VR industry is still six to eight years away from experiencing “hypergrowth”, which is the mass-adoption by consumers.

By the end of 2016, it was estimated that there were only 2 million-non Google Cardboard headsets in consumer’s hands. By 2025, the study predicts there will be closer to 135.6 million VR headsets in use. Why the slow growth? There hasn’t been a great app that has increased the demand for consumer VR headsets.

That said, Greenlight and Road to VR do expect that a great app is coming at some point. “We believe mainstream adoption of [VR gear] will be accelerated by the development of a ‘killer consumer app,’ which will likely come from social networking in virtual reality.”

Until that reality is here, don’t expect your clients to have a headset ready to view your virtual reality tour.

The Cost

Using 3-D virtual reality tours in your listing marketing means an additional expense. VR companies charge anywhere from $100 to $500 for a single tour. As we mentioned in a previous article, it is critical for your personal brand to market every listing the same. Are you ready to add 3-D tours to both your million dollar listings and your $150,000 starter homes? The answer is most likely “no”, which leads to our final point….

Virtual Reality Is Not Proven to Sell More Homes

Since the rise of virtual reality in residential real estate, there has not been any evidence that adding a 3-D tour to your listing will sell it faster. Sure, it looks cool and it’s neat to say you offer VR, but “cool” and “neat” isn’t strong enough ROI to consider using virtual reality right now.

According to recent industry reports, 89% of buyers agree that photography is still the most useful feature when deciding to view a listing. In addition, agents who use professional photography earn double the GCI than agents who don’t. Photography is still the most effective tool in real estate marketing and should be your top priority over pursuing technology that is still in it’s infancy.