Through the Virtual Keyhole: Wales Estate Agent Pioneering Virtual House Viewings

A Welsh estate agent is using virtual reality to bring the viewing to prospective buyers with the pioneering use of a new VR app.

Jeffrey Ross has begun rolling out what it calls JRVR, a virtual reality app powered by Matterport 3D imaging. This allows for entire floor plans, rooms and whole houses to be captured in 3D and then stitched together to create models of entire houses. These can be either walked through or viewed in a fully 3D “dollhouse” mode that allows the whole structure of a house to be seen and visualised.

While photography, in some cases even panoramic and 360 photographs exist, they do not provide the same level of scale and the experience of seeing inside the house. JRVR does a pretty good job of providing that sense of space. The quality of the photography is very impressive, moving around the house was pretty comfortable and the app was easy to use, allowing me to move around the house with no trouble.

The Future of House Viewings?

Jeffrey Ross have provided a lot of support for this, offering free VR goggles at their Pontcanna and Cathays offices. These are simple Cardboard viewers but it does demonstrate a commitment to their plan. Their website also helps by providing a guide and allowing for simple switching into VR mode using Matterport’s VR app.

At the moment due to the work involved in making the VR space, only a small fraction of the houses Jeffrey Ross manage are catered for using JRVR. Currently 45 houses are available to view in VR, many of which already having offers placed and one already sold. It also clearly isn’t for everyone nor can it replace regular house viewings. However, it helps cater to people who cannot find the time for a conventional house viewing to get a feel, albeit ironically with no tactile feedback, for the space a property has before making their mind up.

Virtual Reality is already a proven useful tool in architecture and for allowing prospective designs to be seen with the appropriate scale you can’t always get from images or models. This however is allowing someone to visit a home and visualise themselves there before going to see it in person.

This is a really creative, effective use of VR in the industry. Surely it will be only a matter of time before the idea is copied by other estate agents.

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