Disrupting Real Estate

How you buy real estate is changing. Forever.

This post is about the two key exponential technologies converging to eliminate the middle-man (i.e. the real estate broker) and the headache of shopping for a home.

If you’ve ever shopped for a new house or an apartment, you know the nightmare: dealing with salesy real estate agents, desperately searching to find the right places for the right prices, just missing open house hours, competing with the aggressive couple that got there 10 minutes before you, wasted Sunday afternoons…

Let me give you a glimpse of the future.

The Future Real Estate Shopping Experience

Here’s one future of real-estate shopping…

  • No more real estate agents.
  • 98% of your searching is done from the comfort of your living room, in virtual reality, wearing next-generation virtual headgear.
  • You can tour any house 24/7, at 3 a.m. if you desire… And if you’re the seller, your audience includes buyers from around the world.
  • Should you choose, a virtual agent can show you around and tell you about the house, its history and features.
  • As you search for homes, a machine learning algorithm (with your permission) will be tracking your movements, learning your likes and dislikes, and intelligently recommending other homes to visit.
  • Wondering what the living room you’re viewing might look like with a fresh coat of white paint and a brown carpet? No problem, the VR program can modify the image and show you instantly.
  • Wondering what your own furniture might look like in this new dream house? Presto! AI will take all of your existing furniture, electronics, clothes and decorations and virtually compile them in the new space for you to see.
  • You will be able to test different types of landscaping, add a pool to the backyard, or remodel rooms, virtually, in real time.

In essence, these VR real estate platforms will allow you to explore any home for sale, do the remodel, and determine if it truly is the house of your dreams. You can even get an estimated bid and delivery time from a contractor to implement your vision.

After you leave, an AI can help you write your bid, contact your bank and make your offer on the spot.

Easy and fun.

The Technology

The exponential technologies I mentioned above – virtual reality and machine learning/AI – are very real and coming to market over the next 2 to 5 years.

A company called Immersive Media (disclosure: I’m an investor and advisor) has a platform for the 360-degree video capture and distribution, and is already exploring real estate 360-degree video.

Facebook/Oculus VR, Microsoft’s Hololens, Google/Magic Leap, High Fidelity, OTOY, Leap Motion – these are just some of the companies deploying billions of dollars at this very moment to develop highly disruptive applications in the VR space.

Smaller firms like Studio 216, Vieweet, Arch Virtual, ArX Solutions, Rubicon Media, and others are developing virtual reality applications specifically for real estate. They are capturing and rendering models and images/videos of properties for clients and investors to view and explore.

Strides are being made in artificial intelligence and machine learning research.

Recommendation engines are becoming ubiquitous (everything from Facebook to Netflix uses them), and they are being applied to real estate right now.

Real estate companies like Zillow, Trulia, Move, Redfin, ZipRealty (acquired by Realogy in 2014) and many others are investing millions in machine learning applications to make search, valuation, consulting, property management and more easier, faster and better.

Companies like Google’s DeepMind, Vicarious, and IBM Watson continue the push to create general AI, which is coming further down the line.

In short, we live in the most exciting time ever. Period.

So that’s it: A glimpse at the real estate shopping experience in the future.

Are you investing in real estate? A builder? A realtor? How would you prepare your business today if you knew what the future would look like in 3 to 5 years?

We are living toward incredible times where the only constant is change, and the rate of change is increasing.


[image credit: House for sale courtesy of Shutterstock]

Peter H. Diamandis, MD
Peter H. Diamandis, MDhttp://diamandis.com/
Diamandis is the founder and executive chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, which leads the world in designing and operating large-scale incentive competitions. He is also the executive founder and director of Singularity University, a global learning and innovation community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and build a better future for all. As an entrepreneur, Diamandis has started over 20 companies in the areas of longevity, space, venture capital, and education. He is also co-founder of BOLD Capital Partners, a venture fund with $250M investing in exponential technologies. Diamandis is a New York Times Bestselling author of two books: Abundance and BOLD. He earned degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering from MIT and holds an MD from Harvard Medical School. Peter’s favorite saying is “the best way to predict the future is to create it yourself.”
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