News / Ottawa

Local real estate firm launches virtual reality tours

Using a headset users can load up a house and move their head to explore rooms.

Umber Realty launched their virtual reality tours on November 25.

Contributed.

Umber Realty launched their virtual reality tours on November 25.

Local company Umber Realty is experimenting with new technology by giving buyers and sellers the option of virtual reality property tours.

The company began offering the VR service in October, with an an official launch last week.

Founder Shaun Denis said he saw a lot of big smiles at the launch event from people trying the technology for the first time, including a client who was able to tour his former home in the Glebe.

“Now we’re able to bring the property to buyers, instead of bringing buyers to the property,” he said.

The ability to view 360-degree photos on a desktop computer is not new, but now there’s an ability for an immersion experience – seeing the house through a special headset like the Samsung Gear or the Google Cardboard.

“You really feel the space, and I think that’s important when you’re looking to purchase a home. You don’t just look at the specs, it’s about how you feel in the home," said Denis.

Using a headset, either borrowed from Umber or inexpensively purchased, users can load up a house and move their head to explore rooms.

Marketing director Jess Petrella said the company doesn't expect home buyers to suddenly make purchases based on a VR tour, but the technology could help narrow down options or help buyers outside of Ottawa.

“It really transports you into the space, you can go visit the space again and again without booking a showing or leaving your home,” said Petrella. “We’ve seen [the technology] change a lot of industries already.”

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