The “Metaverse” is being touted by tech leaders at Microsoft and Meta (formerly Facebook) as the next big step in connectivity – building on the existing structure of the internet to transform the way we interact and communicate.
So, what does this mean for the world of real estate marketing? First, we have to explore exactly what the Metaverse is.
In many ways, this concept is very much in its infancy – although a number of major brands and corporations are already working hard on their contribution.
Because the Metaverse is still developing, it’s difficult to predict precisely what the end results will be.
For now, however, Microsoft defines a Metaverse as “a digital space inhabited by a digital representation of people, places and things”. It’s “a new version, or maybe a new vision, of the internet”.
The Metaverse is an interactive, immersive experience populated by avatars. It will allow people to host virtual meetings, attend events, interact in a gaming capacity, purchase products and plenty more.
It is already developing its own economy thanks to the rise of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and cryptocurrency. But where does the world of real estate marketing fit in?
“Real” Real Estate Marketing and the Metaverse
When it comes to the commercial application of virtual reality and augmented reality (VR and AR), the real estate industry stands among the sectors that are leading the charge.
Businesses in this field were already experimenting with remote communication and interaction methods before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic – with the resulting restrictions leading to these ventures being further expedited.
“Now, interactive VR walkthroughs and AR property staging are relatively common, allowing potential homeowners or tenants to explore the world of real estate remotely without having to physically travel or set foot into the space itself,” comments Ruban Selvanayagam of rapid homebuying group Property Solvers.
This means that there is already a precedent for the application of digital spaces in the real estate world – so making the link with the Metaverse is a natural next step in many ways.
“Virtual” Real Estate Marketing
When it comes to the properties being marketed, the Metaverse is already moving beyond physical spaces and entering entirely virtual territory.
It’s now possible to buy and rent “land” or buildings in virtual neighbourhoods, where avatars can live, shop, work and attend events.
While the available property only exists in virtual space, the processes that apply to its marketing and sale remain very similar to those of physical property.
One key difference is that cryptocurrency promises to play a greater role in this new market. Virtual finance of this kind is likely to become the standard method of purchase in the real estate sector of the Metaverse.
This is another area in which the real estate industry of the “physical” world already has a firm foundation. After all, cryptocurrency – including the application of blockchain technology and NFTs – is already widely utilized in the field of real estate investment.
The Metaverse offers rich new ground for the further growth of modern real estate marketing techniques, whether the property on sale is “real” or virtual.
With many businesses in this sector already utilizing VR or AR-related technologies, moving into the Metaverse is likely to be somewhat less of a challenge than in other industries.
From the safe, remote viewing of real-world property to the promotion of virtual homes or business spaces, the role of property marketing is likely to be a vital one in this new age of connectivity and communication.