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What Is Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Real Estate?


With the dawn of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), the future of real estate is now. From the comfort of your office chair in New York or Chicago, you can walk through a Phoenix condo or explore the ins and outs of your multifamily property in the Midwest.

Don’t believe us? We have proof: Bisnow CEO Will Friend spent his time exploring properties with the Samsung VR headset (below), and companies like AR Pandora are creating applications that can show the intricate construction of properties using only your iPad (above).


But what does this all mean? What’s the difference between VR and AR? How will this change real estate? Bisnow and AR Pandora will have you in the know.

Augmented Reality

To put it as simply as possible, augmented reality is when the image of something (such as a property) is projected or overlaid on the physical world that surrounds us. In other words, if you use AR Pandora’s program, you can see a high-quality and user-friendly miniature model of your commercial property resting on your desk, kind of like a holographic dollhouse. But Pandora isn’t just a toy. With the program, you can switch between internal and external views of your property, see it both at day or at night, and change the color and location of the tiny furniture you see inside. So not only can you visualize the property from a god’s eye point of view (don’t let the power go to your head!), but you can also create a more intricate presentation for your investors and customers. It’s not just an image or a blueprint, it’s a fully realized property.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality, on the other hand, is a bit more immersive than AR. Using a headset like the Oculus Rift, virtual reality allows you to walk through and interact with a computer-simulated reality and artificially creates sensory experiences like sight and sound. In other words, it’s like being transported to another place entirely and being able to walk around. With Pandora and other VR programs, you can walk through a property, explore the pools, closets and units of the apartments. But Pandora is going the extra mile: their AR/VR includes Microsoft’s Kinect motion capture technology and allows you to change the color of a piece of furniture, open a car door, or lift and move furniture—all with the flick of a finger. You can even see your hands in front of you in the program (although they’re skeletal, which is fitting for the month.) This allows you and your clients to truly get a 1:1 experience of your upcoming property and even change it during presentations.

The Bottom Line

VR and AR are changing the commercial real estate experience along every step of the process. From the initial designs, to selling the project to investors and potential tenants, VR and AR can make your presentation more intimate and visceral and give you both a better presentation of what your property entails. And Pandora is leading the charge with this future tech, making AR models available on every mobile device. To find out more about Bisnow’s partner, click here.