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VR for Commercial Real Estate Could Let You Tour Real Buildings -- and Ones Still on the Drawing Board“For prospective tenants, the wraparound terrace is the highlight of the $60 million renovation under way at 437 Madison Avenue,” notes the Wall Street Journal in a recent story.

But here’s the kicker…

“Actually, the (project) won’t be finished until next year, but Sage Realty Corp. isn’t letting construction hinder renting space in the 850,000-square-foot building. The leasing agents are simply giving virtual-reality tours: Each visitor sits in the marketing office, outfitted with headgear that is coupled with interactive 3-D modeling software.”

Yep, here is the future. Virtual reality tours of properties commercial real estate firms have available — as well as some still on the drawing board.

“I think the truth is people recognize the speed of technological advancement is increasing,” said David Eisenberg, chief executive and co-founder of Floored Inc., which develops virtual-reality software and 3-D modeling, including products Sage is using. “A few years ago, if you only had 10 to 15 years left in your [real-estate] career you could ignore some of that stuff. Now people realize they are going to have to be practitioners of the technology.”

It’s cost effective, too.

“For commercial developers who put up buildings that cost hundreds of millions of dollars, a virtual-reality tour is relatively cheap. Costs can run from $25,000 to more than $1 million, depending on the scope of the project, Mr. Eisenberg said,” noted the WSJ.

Sage uses technology from Oculus, which Facebook bought for $2 billion last year.

Broker Brad Cohen has just started to use the mobile-compatible version with software and interactive 3-D imagery from VR Global Inc. Mr. Cohen, senior director at Eastern Consolidated, envisions being able to send the technology abroad.

“Think about CEOs overseas [who] need to make the real decisions, and they can’t get on a flight for another two weeks,” Mr. Cohen said. “The level of detail in imagery we capture, because of the quality of cameras, really does give somebody the ability to purchase from afar.”

Sure beats static photos of a property on a website. Virtual reality has the potential to change the entire property-selling universe.

Not just virtually. But really.

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