Virtual Tours for Real Estate During the Coronavirus

Virtual Tours for Real Estate During the Coronavirus

Today’s real estate market is unrecognizable to most of us. Construction is crawling, existing buildings are empty, buyers are backing out, tenants are requesting rent relief and businesses of all kinds are either closing or significantly reducing staff. These trends are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, which, needless to say, is causing headwinds for real estate participants. Owners and brokers, for example, are now scrambling to improve their digital presence and somehow show their property remotely.

Showing a property to a potential buyer or tenant remotely is not new, but the delivery method has changed. Over the years there have been large advancements in technology for built spaces, this includes tools like Matterport. However, technology has often lagged for pre-construction, old or raw spaces, with owners still relying on in-person sales offices and expensive model units.

In an effort to work remotely, many owners are using video conferencing tools such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams to pitch clients about the property. These platforms are great for having a conversation, but if there is limited digital content, the calls often fall short. In today’s market, having a competitive digital presence means a sophisticated website, fly-through videos and a virtual tour experience.

One of the companies active in the virtual tour space is Radical Galaxy Studio, which has been making advancements to improve virtual real estate experiences. Even if an owner wanted to show what a vacant office space would look like for a tech or medical tenant, Radical Galaxy could build that out.

“As a real estate asset manager, I saw firsthand the impact of new technologies on the way we design, develop, manage and sell real estate,” Bradley Snyder Managing Partner at Radical Galaxy Studio commented. “Not only can tenants and buyers no longer tour a property or space in person, but even when they could, often they could not visualize what it would look like fully built out.”

One of the interesting aspects of virtual tours that is often overlooked by owners is the SEO and branding benefits. Compared to 2D content, 360/virtual content receives 300% more click-throughs, as well as resonates better with tech-forward professionals, per an Omnivirt Study.

“Most real estate properties are long overdue for a digital update, but all of a sudden now having strong digital content can make or break a property’s success,” said Matthew Shaffer Managing Partner at Radical Galaxy Studio. “Using virtual tours will become part of the new normal in the real estate industry for both commercial and residential assets.”

About Radical Galaxy:

Radical Galaxy Studio, LLC is a visualization firm that is pushing the boundaries of what can be done in real estate design, sales and leasing. Radical Galaxy creates virtual tours, CGI animations, motion renderings, still renderings, augmented reality and virtual reality for industry leading firms including Oxford Properties, Brookfield Properties, Perkins + Will, Marriott, Cushman Wakefield and Hyatt Hotels.

ULI Spring Nashville Speaking Engagement

ULI Spring Nashville Speaking Engagement

Radical Galaxy was invited to speak at the Spring 2019 ULI Meeting in Nashville. The Spring Meeting is an exclusive event for ULI Full Members which are some of the most senior and influential leaders in real estate.

Radical Galaxy spoke about the various uses of virtual and augmented reality and how Radical Galaxy is helping to maximize their clients IRRs. The firm pushes the boundaries between reality and technology, allowing owners and clients alike to envision a radical new world.

Radical Galaxy demoed various projects at the event from high rise condos, large multi-use complexes to master planned communities. Within AR and VR clients have the ability to review numerous options and make decisions such as changing structural elements and choosing from a variety materials for the walls and floors. Everything that is seen in the virtual world is what the space will look like in the real world once the project is complete. VR also allows the process of finalizing plans to become straightforward for all parties involved including, architects, interior designers, engineers and the client. In turn, there is less of a need to coordinate schedules to meet in person to discuss projects. Each user can be anywhere in the world and see what is going on from a computer or headset.

“I’m extremely pleased to have been invited to speak with the ULI CDC council about the usage of augmented and virtual reality in real estate,” said Matthew Shaffer of Radical Galaxy.

The main conference’s extensive speaker line-up included: Andrew Beaird of Core Development, Dave Bagg of Green Street Advisors, Adam Ducker of RCLCO, Erwin Effler of Ryan Companies, Rich Monopolo of Boston Properties, Phil Payne of Ginko Residential, Michael Spies of Tishman Speyer and Rick Wood of Chestnut Real Estate.

If you want to learn more about the conference please go to

Custom Home Builder:  Forward Thinking with Virtual Reality

Custom Home Builder: Forward Thinking with Virtual Reality

Although he doesn’t advertise it as such, Lochwood-Lozier is a design/build firm, and it also takes on projects designed by outside architects, building eight to 10 custom homes per year and doing about 15 to 20 remodels. Typical homes measure 5,500 to 6,000 square feet and cost anywhere from $1.5 million to $1.6 million, not including the land. The budget for a recent remodel was $3.4 million.

Clients purchasing custom builds at that level are discerning and sophisticated, particularly in the high-tech demographic that makes up Lozier’s market.

Along with personal attention and today’s typical basket of e-marketing tools—Houzz, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter—Lozier takes it a step further by using virtual reality to better connect his clients with their projects. “So many people have difficulty understanding 2D plans,” he says. “Even in SketchUp it’s not quite the same level of realism.”

Virtual reality (VR) offers a computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional environment in which viewers can interact with their surroundings—not to be confused with augmented reality (AR), which adds digital elements to a live view.

While more and more architects have turned to VR to share projects with clients or collaborate on work, not many builders are using it. “I don’t know of any other design/build contractors doing this,” Lozier says. “It’s not a common thing—yet.”

Lochwood-Lozier teamed up with Seattle-based Radical Galaxy, which works with companies to create VR, AR, and mixed-reality material for their projects. It works this way: After Lozier’s (or the external) architects have designed a home and made the selections (floor, tile, wall color, hard surfaces, sometimes furniture) with their client’s input, they send Radical Galaxy 2D drawings as DWG files. These include floor plans, elevations, dimensions, measurements—“basically what would be in a 2D set of drawings,” Lozier says. In a process that takes about two to three weeks, Radical Galaxy inputs that information into its program and produces a VR file…

…Clients come to the office, put on a headset, and get to virtually walk through their home. Some opt for an exterior and interior look, and some just look at particular rooms. “They can check for potential problems,” Lozier says. For example, one client used the system to go through his kitchen. He realized the distance between the bar table and the kitchen island was too narrow. Lozier’s team was able to revise the drawing in CAD to make that space more comfortable. They sent the file back to Radical Galaxy and then had the client walk through again to sign off on it.

…VR walkthrough—ranges from $8,000 to $20,000. Most of that is for programming and the tremendous number of hours that go into production. But Lozier says the cost is not bad when you’re building a $5 million project and you have a hard time visualizing what’s on paper. “This is truly some of the best money you can spend on this level,” he says. “Think of the cost of a change order in the field; the cost of VR could be miniscule. I haven’t had a client tell me it wasn’t money well spent.”

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Inman: Love VR, but hate the headset? Try Ground Control

Inman: Love VR, but hate the headset? Try Ground Control

Radical Galaxy Studio is still pushing the virtual property tour market with super clean interiors, on-demand finish changes and life-like walkthroughs.

However, homebuyers aren’t totally ready for it, yet.

The company recently launched a sort of go-between tour product for agents who sell new-build condos, residences and apartments from showroom floors. It’s a VR content management system (CMS) called Ground Control.

The software builds out prospective units for agents to tour with clients from a tablet, wireless connection and hi-res office monitor, for example, instead of from behind the typical, face-eating VR headset.

“We found that some buyers were getting lost in the tours,” said Radical Galaxy Studio Managing Partner Matthew Shaffer.

The interiors are sharp, computer-generated renderings devised from actual blueprints and interior design plans.

In Ground Control, night can be changed to day, televisions can be turned on and off, hallway lights dimmed, counter-tops changed from granite to concrete and carpets pulled up for hardwood. But the bones of the actual unit remain as they will be built, giving prospective buyers, quite literally, a look into the future.

Agents and their clients can takes notes in the software as well, recommending different finishes or fixtures, for example. There are also live updates of a unit’s market status.

For selling agents, Ground Control’s features and benefits give them a much more stable platform on which to market property than paper brochures and flat, colorful collateral ever could.

Virtual tours with this much clarity provide a better sense of possibility of purchasing, allowing buyers to actually see themselves in a unit, whereas traditional means of promotion might feel too far away for buyers and lack the ability to engage them.

“We want VR to be cog in the sales wheel, it shouldn’t be the only thing a buyer uses to make an offer,” Shaffer said. “Still, we think agents should think differently about how they market and sell.”

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Radical Galaxy Announces the Release of Ground Control

Radical Galaxy Announces the Release of Ground Control

Today, Radical Galaxy Studio, a real estate technology firm, announced the release of “Ground Control,” a cutting-edge content management system (CMS) intended to dramatically improve the real estate sales center experience.

Ground Control gives brokers the ability to navigate seamlessly between all the marketing content while remotely controlling the display. The user will have the ability to manage floor plans, unit information, exterior and interior renderings, virtual reality tours, drone photography, maps, videos and more from one easy-to-use application. One of the main features of the app is the ability to remotely control the camera view during a virtual reality tour.

“We are excited to announce the release of Ground Control,” said Matthew Shaffer, Managing Partner at Radical Galaxy Studio. “Today’s consumer expects a seamless, content rich presentation when visiting a sales or leasing center. We gathered and acted upon feedback from our clients and the real estate community to develop the new features and tools that became Ground Control.”

About Radical Galaxy:

Radical Galaxy Studio, LLC is a real estate technology firm with offices in Seattle and NYC that is pushing the boundaries of what can be done within the sales leasing processes.  Radical Galaxy has worked with industry leaders including Oxford Properties, Marriott, Cushman Wakefield and Hyatt Hotels.