VR tours are already making an impact, and look to get more affordable and immersive

Technology is rapidly evolving, and changing the way we do business along with it. And with each advancement, it becomes more accessible, more affordable, and more imaginative.

This is a big reason why virtual reality (VR) has crossed over from the hardcore gaming world into other applications, including real estate. According to a recent study by Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, VR is expected to become an $80 billion industry by the year 2025 – which is about the size of today’s desktop market – with real estate taking up $2.6 billion dollars of the pie.

That future, though, is happening now. “We think 2016 is a very transformative year for the area of virtual reality,” said Heather Bellini, Business Unit Leader, Telecommunications, Media and Technology, Goldman Sachs. “Virtual reality is, what we believe will be, the next generation computing platform.”

The magic is in the details

For realtors and developers, VR is a means of bringing both existing and pre-construction properties to life. With the help of goggles, like the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, and 3D architects, like Miami-based Evolution Ventures, clients are able to take virtual tours of their space, which can be as detailed as necessary, from specs to décor to the views from the windows.

In addition, some technologies even allow the VR tour to be shared on laptops and tablets, projected onto large screens, or viewed on cell phones.

Step into your world

By nature, humans are visual learners. Our brains are able to process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Using it as a tool, then, makes perfect sense.

VR touring takes the use of visuals even further. Rather than looking at an image in a brochure, via a 360-degree tour on a laptop, or a series of confusing crisscrossing lines on a blueprint, this technology allow clients to step into and experience their future domain. For properties that already exist, VR touring allows the new tenant to not only view the space but to redesign it to meet his or her needs – from a reconfiguration of walls to furniture, colors, and artwork.

Similarly, for those interested in pre-construction buildings, potential buyers or leasers no longer have to don hardhats to take a tour and imagine the new space. Instead, they can put on VR goggles in the comfort of a conference room to “see” their new location and decide then and there if they want in.

VR – Very Real – benefits

  • It’s time-efficient. Rather than driving to 20 properties to create an A-list of possibilities, clients can take virtual tours of the locations, creating that A-list in one spot and reserving real world visits to a select few.
  • VR tours translate complex design concepts into something more palatable for the layperson. It can be difficult, using standard drawings, for clients to fully grasp depth, height, and width – and then to imagine those drawings as an actual 3D environment. Virtual reality eliminates that barrier.
  • Virtual tours make the world smaller. Through their use, realtors, developers, and clients in Miami can “walk around” properties from Arkansas to Zambia.

VR – Very Real – issues

The oohs and aahs do not mean that VR tours are without concerns, however.

The first of these, naturally, is the price tag. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “costs can run from $25,000 to more than $1 million dollars, depending on the scope of the project.” But for high-end properties, the VR investment may be a small price to pay.

Another major issue is that some people who use the goggles become disoriented and queasy from the virtual experience – not a good feeling when you’re trying to seal the deal. An easy solution, rather than waiting for technology to change, is to immerse the client by projecting the VR tour onto a large screen while controlling movement with a tablet.


There’s no telling exactly where VR technology will move next, or how immersive it will become, and when. Certainly, it will become more affordable and available, and there is already speculation about how to enhance the experience by tapping into all of the senses – perhaps the feel of a wood grain finish on a desk or the smell of coffee coming from the breakroom.

When it comes to the marriage between tech and real estate, the sky may be the limit – especially in its application toward choosing commercial spaces.

If you’re looking to stay abreast of the latest trends in commercial real estate, or you are searching for the perfect space for your South Florida business, turn to Morris Southeast Group. Our commercial real estate agents have been serving Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties for decades. Contact our team by phone at 954.474.1776, reach Ken Morris on his cell at 954.240.4400, or email kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.


Having a plan and hiring the right contractor and architect make all the difference in avoiding delays to your project

If you’re getting ready to embark on a construction project, you’ve likely heard the horror stories of delays that stretch projects well past their planned completion date. One of the most common delays stems from obtaining permits. Is there a way to avoid a pause in your project? Here are some tips to help you traverse the complicated building and permitting process.

Hire a reputable general contractor and architect who both know the South Florida market

Building codes differ significantly between residential and commercial construction projects, and also from one county to another. If you’re building in Miami, for example, make sure the contractor and architect you choose are well-versed in the local and national building codes to avoid problems during the process.

And don’t simply take a general contractor’s word for it that he or she has extensive experience in the local market. Ask for references and follow up to ensure that they are not inflating their resume. Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation offers a free tool that allows you to search for a contractor to ensure they’re properly licensed in their field.

Have a plan and stick to it

A complete ‘permit’ set of working drawings go hand in hand with having a reputable general contractor to complete and oversee the construction work. An experienced contractor will insist that you have one prior to applying for permits – in fact, you won’t have a firm price for the project until you have one completed. It will need to be submitted to the city and needs to be specific enough to outline all the work that will be completed during the project.

What some property owners tend to do is submit plans and then drastically change their minds about how certain aspects of the project should be completed – it’s one of the most common delays to a construction project. Any major revisions must be resubmitted to the building department, which then must reissue an updated permit. If you can stick to a detailed set of permit drawings prior to breaking ground, you’ll probably be much happier with the finished product, and you’ll be more likely to finish on time and within budget. Any deviation from the original design can cause a significant cost increase and push back the completion date.

Be forthcoming with the city about the renovations that you’re planning to make

Another common mistake is not fully disclosing to the city what they’re planning to do in terms of renovations. If officials suspect that you’re performing aspects of construction without a valid permit, they have the authority to put a hold on the project, and potentially fine you for not complying with local building codes. Avoid these common delays by working with a licensed and insured contractor who will pull all necessary permits to ensure your project is completed up to code.

Most experienced contractors can anticipate issues before they become a problem

Significant construction delays should be minimal with the right general contractor. Experienced builders will look at the scope of a project, anticipate delays, and ensure that any potential issues are handled quickly before they completely derail your project timeline and budget.

At Morris Southeast Group, we’ve been a fixture in the commercial real estate community in South Florida for decades. We’ve worked with a number of experienced contractors who know the area and are experts at efficiently navigating the permitting process. If you’d like recommendations, feel free to reach out to our team today at 954.474.4776, reach Ken Morris on his cell at 954.240.4400, or email kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.