Virtual reality (VR) was once nothing more than a fantasy explored in movies and video games, but according to Coldwell Banker’s 2018 Smart Home Marketplace Survey, VR is becoming a tangible and integral part of the homebuying process for a majority of Americans.

The survey, which included responses from 3,000 adults, revealed that 77 percent of homebuyers would like virtual reality tours before seeing a prospective listing in person, and another 68 percent would like to use technology to see how their current furniture would look in a new home.

Furthermore, 62 percent of Americans said they’d be more apt to choose a real estate agent who offered VR tours over an agent who didn’t.

“It’s crucial that the real estate industry stays on the cutting edge of technology,” said Coldwell Banker senior vice president David Marine in a press release. “From virtual reality to smart home tech, consumers are now interacting with these technologies in different capacities and expect the same when working with a real estate professional.”

Beyond VR, American homebuyers are starting to fully embrace smart home technology with 32 percent of respondents reporting owning a smart home tool — an 8 percent year-over-year increase.

The most desirable smart home tools. Source: Coldwell Banker

Moreover, 42 percent of sellers said they’d look to their real estate agent for guidance on how staging their home with smart home products could draw in buyers.

When it comes to smart home products that could make or break a sale, respondents said the following items were most important, and show be pre-installed in a listing:

  • Smart thermostat (77 percent)
  • Smart fire detector (75 percent)
  • Smart carbon monoxide detector (70 percent)
  • Smart camera (66 percent)
  • Smart lock (63 percent)
  • Smart lighting system (63 percent)

“Our consumer findings underscore the need for industry-wide smart home education for real estate sales agents,” said Coldwell Banker president and CEO Charlie Young in a statement. “As the smart home leader in real estate, Coldwell Banker is at the forefront of this trend.

“We were the first to offer a smart home certification and definition of a smart home which positions our network of brokers and agents to deliver a competitive advantage for their customers in an ever-changing market.”

About the survey

The 2017 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Coldwell Banker Real Estate from December 5-7, 2017, among 3,129 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, and the 2016 survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Coldwell Banker Real Estate from November 14-16 and November 18-22, 2016, among 4,108 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

Email Marian McPherson.

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