Real estate experts say there’s a better way to find homes in virtual reality, as virtual homes may be less expensive than their real-world counterparts.
As technology becomes more affordable, it’s more likely that virtual homes will become the norm, according to a study by real estate consultant Aneurin Brackett, who has worked with virtual reality pioneers such as Facebook’s Oculus VR and HTC’s Vive.
“Virtual worlds are not going to disappear,” said Bracketts co-author Ian Bell, a professor of real estate at the University of York.
“They’re not going away.
They’re going to be used and used and more.”
Virtual homes may also be less costly to maintain and maintain in virtual worlds, as well as less prone to physical damage, Brackets co-authors David Cairns and Alex Miller said.
This makes virtual home ownership more appealing to those who want to keep living in the real world and are willing to pay for it, but who have limited or no means to live there.
“A lot of people are not interested in the lifestyle they’re living in,” Miller said, referring to those with low incomes who are struggling to find affordable housing.
Brackettes study focused on the properties of some of the biggest names in the virtual real estate industry, such as Airbnb, Google Home and HomeBuddy.
It looked at the properties that were available in both the US and Canada for sale on Airbnb and found that virtual home owners were generally more affordable than the real-life homeowners they were competing with.
Virtual homes are not only cheaper than their actual homes, but are more likely to be in high-quality locations with great views and amenities, Bricketts said.
“This is one area where VR really helps you,” he said.
Virtual home buyers can use Airbnb to book an Airbnb room in a virtual space, for example.
If they don’t find that space, they can buy a room on the real Airbnb platform for $100 to $300.
Virtual house owners who can’t afford to live in the same space are likely to buy a space that’s available online.
For example, the real estate agent who sold my house at $200,000 would probably sell it for $50,000.
In that case, my rent would be $40,000, Brcketts said, adding that VR may be the best way to buy an Airbnb space.
It’s not clear how many people will use virtual home sharing to find rental properties, but if they do, Bracks team of researchers found that it was most common among renters who were younger and in higher-income brackets.
“What this really shows is that the people who are renting virtual spaces are the ones that are going to make the most money,” Brackert said.
Real estate agents say there are plenty of ways to find virtual home homes.
They can rent out rooms on Airbnb to Airbnb users, or they can rent rooms on the virtual property they bought in the first place.
But the rental sites and Airbnb apps offer very little guidance about what to do when someone tries to rent out a virtual property, said David Ciaramitaro, the vice president of digital marketing for the realtor site Trulia.
Trulia’s realtor service allows users to choose a price, a room and a location to rent.
Users can then search for virtual properties on Airbnb, Trulia said.
But if someone tries renting a room out on Airbnb that isn’t their actual property, they’ll be unable to access the rental listings, Trumors chief executive David Dabiri said.
That means if someone uses the app to find realtor listings, they won’t be able to use Trulia to rent a room.
“I’ve had people try to rent this room on Airbnb because they know they’re not in the actual home, but it’s just not possible,” Ciaras said.
And Trulia also warns renters that if someone wants to buy the property, their Airbnb account will be charged an initial rent, with monthly payments that can escalate, and they’ll lose their Airbnb user profile.
So renters who don’t want to pay upfront will have to find another way to rent the room.
Airbnb users can rent a virtual room at any time, for a low rate, by going to a virtual house and entering a virtual address, which will then be available to other users.
The user will need to register a virtual account to use the service.
“You can only do that once and the address will expire,” Cairs said.
In this example, Airbnb users would need to use a virtual location in order to rent an Airbnb property.
“If you want to rent someone else’s property, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way,” said David Miller, a real estate and technology entrepreneur who is not affiliated with Trulia or Airbnb.