Forget Showrooms, Developers Turn to Oculus Rift to Virtually Immerse Buyers in Pricey Properties

Posted On Wed, October 29, 2014 By

Posted On Wed, October 29, 2014 By In real estate trends, Technology

Though more and more house hunters are back to buying off of blueprint in this hot real estate market, that hasn’t stopped developers from tricking out their sales offices with hopes of trumping the competition. Ultra-detailed scaled models line spaces, and the priciest of couches and countertops fill life-sized mockups blocks away from the actual address. More recently, buildings like 50 West have built out entire theaters wrapped with screens intent on showing buyers the panoramic city views their shelling out millions for. Clearly, cost is not a concern. But watch out, there’s a new group on the scene ready to really shake things up.

Architecture visualization firm ArX Solutions has turned to a piece of virtual reality tech that everyone seems to be talking about: Oculus Rift. With their specially designed virtual reality tours, clients can see exactly what its like to walk through a home with all their sensations engaged. Cool? Absolutely. But this tour doesn’t come cheap. Like the lofty homes it features, a trip with Oculus Rift rings in at a jaw-dropping $95,000.

 Oculus Rift,  Oculus Rift real estate, new york real estate, how to tour new york real estateImage by ArX Solutions

Like a decked out sales room, the Oculus tour serves pretty much the same purpose: Many people have a hard time turning a handful of renderings into what their home could look like furnished and filled with their belongings. Mediums like showrooms have long been used to bridge that gap for unbuilt buildings. However, the difference between using Oculus over a more conventional sales space is being able to not only visualize a prospective luxury apartment but to feel and hear what it’s like to occupy one.

In a recent article by Fast Company, writer Sydney Brownstone takes a virtual reality tour of an ultra-luxe Miami apartment. Sydney’s account using Oculus to tour the apartment is as fascinating as it is unsettling, showing how intense the experience through Oculus Rift can be:

“My most prized Chanel bag sits on a black pedestal in a walk-in closet the size of a bedroom… There’s a Jackson Pollock hanging outside my closet door, and my marble fireplace appears to stretch the width of three ping pong tables. The living room overlooks a wide-angle view of Miami’s Key Biscayne Bridge. I spin around, taking stock of my $20 million luxury apartment. This is supposed to be the apex of comfort, but beads of sweat are dampening the back of my neck. In the closet, I pivot to catch myself in the full-length mirror. When I do, the reflection is missing.

“I vroom ahead to the low glass table in front of the fireplace, though top speed still feels like moving on a slow Segway. It’s exhilarating. As it happens, extreme levels of conspicuous consumption–even in virtual reality–feel really, really good. “

“If you step closer to the fire, you hear it crackling,” Gonzalo Navarro, the Miami-based principal of architecture visualization firm ArX Solutions, tells her.

 Oculus Rift,  Oculus Rift real estate, new york real estate, how to tour new york real estateImage by ArX Solutions

With prices on the rise and a flurry of luxury units coming to the market with a race to build even more, ArX’s services are unsurprisingly in very high demand. Currently the company is servicing more than 100 developers in New York, Miami, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, and Dubai, and they claim half of all the recent luxury projects in Miami have enlisted their services.

On average, the architectural renderings, animation and simulations that make up their virtual experience will take up to three months to produce, longer if more options are required (ex. exhibiting additional finishes, woods, etc). This is in large part why an Oculus trip rings in at $95,000.

It goes without saying that this tech isn’t meant for the middle class house hunter and is squarely targeted at the richest of the rich. And really, it’s just a matter of time before we see it take the NYC luxury market by storm.

Want to know more of what it’s like to tour a $20 million apartment with Oculus Rift? Read Sydney’s complete account on Fast Company here.

Images by ArX Solutions via Fast Company

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