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5 Real Estate Apps that Used Augmented Reality Way Before Pokemon Go

July 28 2016

mobile video recording 2"Augmented reality" has entered the cultural lexicon in a big way, thanks to Pokemon Go. It's not just teenagers and gamers who are chattering about it, either. Just last week, I saw an article on a business blog that listed four industries that are primed for augmented reality to disrupt. One of the those industries? Real estate!

From the postpost:

The potential applications augmented reality could have in real estate is not to be discredited. By holding up a phone to any house and retrieving important details about the property — i.e., home values, bedrooms, and square footage, etc. — would change the landscape of obtaining valuable real estate information.

Guess no one told the author that we in the real estate industry have already been leveraging augmented reality like this--and for years! Let's take a look at some of the apps that have been busy blazing the augmented reality trail in our industry.

Real Estate's Two Heavy Hitters

First, let's clarify what augmented reality is. It's when the real world is supplemented by data, visuals, or sound via a device like a smartphone or tablet. Typically, users can see these "extras" by turning on their device's camera and viewing the surrounding environment through their phone's live camera feed. In the case of Pokemon Go, the game taps into your phone's GPS and camera to show you virtual creatures that you can catch (among other things).

In the case of real estate, consumers and agents can use their phone's camera feed to view property information overlaid onto the live video feed. This short video shows you how this process looks in HomeSpotter, an augmented reality property search app:

Homesnap is another augmented reality home search app that operates in a similar way. With Homesnap, users take a picture of a home with their camera and the app pulls up MLS property details of the house. Keep on eye on this app--it's going places, thanks to a newly announced partnership with Broker Public Portal.

Help Your Clients Envision a Home as Their Own

Augmented reality is a force in real estate not just for viewing property data, but also for helping buyers picture themselves in a home by letting them virtually augment the interior design to their liking.

Paint Tester, for example, lets prospects change the paint color of any room. Just snap a picture, pick the desired paint color, and voila--your potential buyers are one step closer to envisioning the home in their own personal style.

HomestylerHomestyler goes one step further. It's a high end design app lets users see how furniture, light fixtures, rugs, and items would look in the home.

Even IKEA, retailer of assemble-it-yourself Swedish furniture, has gotten in on the augmented reality game. Their catalog app (for iOS and Android) lets users virtually place IKEA furniture into the rooms of their home.

The Bright Side

Even if you're weary of hearing about Pokemon Go, rest assured that there is a silver lining. Because Pokemon has introduced the public to the concept of augmented reality (AR) in an unprecedented way, it's easier to start a conversation with them about using AR in their home search. Rather than use their phone to find Pikachu, tell your buyers that downloading HomeSpotter or HomeSnap makes it easy to find info on any property.

Of course, if you're tired of hearing about Pokemon Go, you can just download PokeGone--a Chrome browser extension that blocks all mentions of Pokemon Go while you're browsing the internet. (Don't say we don't love you.)