Google Glass Will Revolutionise How We Buy Houses
Where technology goes, estate agents quickly follow. First it was online listings replacing shop windows and catalogues. Then it was phone apps, so you could browse the market while you were in a meeting. Or on the bus. Or walking down the street (to the infuration of fellow pedestrians). Next came QE codes, those funny little square barcodes, so you could take a picture of an estate agent’s sign outside your dream property and have the details automatically pinged into your pocket.
What’s next? Which wonderful new technologies are on the way to make it even easier to browse, bid for and buy the house of your dreams?
One of the expected trends for this year is a surge in wearable technology. At the forefront of the trend is Google Glass, a device that looks like a pair of spectacles, but which can take pictures and video.
“It’s a game changer,” says Steven Reilly, whose company, Vistabee is one of the leading providers of videos for property. They make thousands of videos a year, for Zoopla as well as other individual agents. Recently, however, they have started to make videos of homes using Glass.
Reilly says that the possibilities the new gadget provides are nearly endless.
“It is going to really disrupt the market. Compared with normal videos, it feels incredibly immediate. People don’t feel as if they’re looking at a camera, so they relax and the experience is much more natural. The viewer gets a real point-of-view perspective of a house. It gives you a real sense of place. People buy houses based on their gut instincts, and this really gives you that. It really democratises visual content for homes – anyone can get at it, wherever they are in the world.”
Glass creates the possibility of an agent giving a tour of a new home live to viewers around the world, who would be able to ask them the kind of questions you normally need a viewing for: is the house noisy, what does it smell like; could you just check round that corner.
“The quality is really exceptional,” Reilly adds. “Potentially it can replace the first or second viewings of properties.”
Douglas & Gordon is one estate agent which has decided to take the plunge, and get videos made using Glass.
“It could also have a big effect on the property search process,” says Ed Mead, a director at the agency.
“Potential homebuyers wearing Glass could be able to drive around a chosen area, and geo-tagged properties could pop up on the screen. This would allow buyers to get a feel for the street and the neighbourhood, while also enjoying the property’s interior. If properties are geo-tagged in this way, it could have a significant impact on the industry.”
Another piece of technology making its way to an estate agent’s window near you soon is the drone.