Until recently, augmented reality (AR), as a palpable concept, was floating somewhere between a filament of avid developers’ vivid imaginations and scripts of sci-fi blockbusters.

Today, we’re on the verge of being able to firmly walk into the realm of augmented reality: a place where digital information is interwoven into the actual physical world. Lines are seamlessly blurred together and one is essentially unable to pinpoint where actual reality ends and the augmented one begins. And this is, perhaps, where its main appeal lies.

We examined the impact of virtual reality technology on the ever-evolving face of real estate and how gear like VR headsets can allow a fully immersive experience into the future state of a desired property.

Augmented reality brings just as much excitement, but with a twist: it pulls up an enhanced version of reality by superimposing computer-generated images over a user’s view of what is actually there.

Augmented Reality for Real Estate Professionals

In the world of real estate, traditional flat print materials, including blueprints, are at a serious risk of being outdated tools of the trade. The use of physical real estate models will be replaced with augmented reality models.

Using augmented technology, real estate firms can have a holographic image of a lifelike 3D model of a property that is, much like a hologram, completely lifelike and interactive. The client can potentially modify the features of the property, playing around with paint color, at-scale furniture and design pieces, treating the digital replica of their would-be new digs as their own, virtually limitless playground. They can also do this from anywhere in the world.

The list of benefits augmented reality brings to the field is long and the popularity of its integration is on the rise. Research predicts that the AR and VR market in real estate is projected to reach at least $2.6 billion by 2025.

The digital tours, by use of augmented reality apps or supporting devices, promise to put the real in real estate, save time by narrowing down the viewing options, erase borders and potential hassles an international sale may impose and much more. Augmented reality can also be used to help remodel a home, by showing different interior design finishes in the room.

Differences Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Although they both offer an intensely powerful experience, VR and AR are fairly different, when it comes to their core. VR is thoroughly immersive and can be achieved purely via use of a headset. A person using VR is transported to another world whether it’s a property in Washington DC or Miami Beach.

With AR, things are more diverse.

AR can be built out as apps for cellphones and tablets, or by using professional devices such as the Microsoft HoloLens, the first self-contained, holographic computer that enables users to engage with digital content and interact with holograms within the physical world.

So, while VR can paint an entirely different picture of our current reality, AR can add to it and enhance it dramatically. By adding something that is only virtually there AR offers a sense of meaning, as it allows the end user to interact with objects, for a purpose.

Upcoming Augmented Reality Device

Joining the AR mix sometime in 2018 is the Magic Leap One: Creator Edition – a mountable computer that combines Magic Leap’s Digital Lightfield technology –which accommodates multiple focal points so one is able to see holograms at a variety of distances – machine learning and visual perception. The product is geared toward the creator community, namely developers and the entertainment industry that would use it to create content.

Several prominent players in the entertainment industry have been linked to Magic Leap. Warner Bros. is an early investor, so odds are the studio is to utilize it in some shape or form. Not surprisingly, Lucasfilm is also highly interested in using Magic Leap’s promising tools, as it has been reported that it will be partnering with the company in creating Star Wars-related content.

Real estate professionals are sure to be an interested target group and the advances in AR technology, both announced and those still not revealed to the public, project a visionary future that is nothing short of spectacular.