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Photo: James Bombales

As more and more people wait in anticipation for the delivery of their Oculus Rift headsets, the trend towards virtual reality (VR) continues to grow in popularity. And while gaming is expected to be a key application for VR, there’s a lot of potential for the technology to be used in other industries including real estate. Some realtors have already been using the technology to sell resale homes while new home developers have also taken notice.

One company that is leading the charge towards innovative virtual reality adoption in real estate is Lifetime Developments, a land development firm with over 30 years of experience building residential and commercial properties across the GTA. Lifetime has partnered with Budapest-based software developer Brick Visuals to create a 3D virtual reality tour of the penthouse suite currently for sale at The Bond Condos in downtown Toronto.

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Using the latest Samsung Gear VR technology developed in partnership with Oculus, the team at Brick Visuals have created a program that allows prospective homebuyers to experience the floorplan in virtual reality. All it takes is a Samsung smartphone that connects to the headset at the front and acts as the display and processor. The headset itself acts as the controller and includes a set of toggles and buttons to sort through menus, as well as a focus wheel to adjust the lenses.

Strap on the headset and you’re immediately taken up to the 42nd floor where you can walk through a 3D rendering of the three bedroom penthouse suite. The home boasts a private lobby, gourmet kitchen, home office, and 5,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor living space, so there’s lots to see.

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The tour also allows you to step onto the 1,913 square feet terrace to fully experience the landscaped seating areas, dining room and barbecue area. Plus, with the device’s advanced inertial measurement unit (IMA) which tracks the user’s head movements you can take in the spectacular views from the terrace in 360 degrees.

“What we saw is that no one is really using it [virtual reality] and integrating it into how they show off condos to potential buyers,” said Mackenzie Keast, Social Media and PR Coordinator at Lifetime Developments. “We wanted to show people how they can live and experience the unit through an immersive virtual environment.”

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At this point, only the penthouse suite is available to tour in virtual reality, however Keast believes the technology has the potential to play a bigger role in the company’s sales and marketing efforts.

“We think this could be an integral part of our marketing program to allow people to experience the suites and get a much better idea of what the unit is going to look like,” said Keast. “From a buyer’s perspective, it gives a much better idea of how you can use the space, rather than just looking at two dimensional plans which can sometimes be difficult to visualize.”

To experience the virtual reality tour for yourself, visit the sales centre located in Suite 302 at 373 King Street West, open Monday to Wednesday from 12pm to 6pm and weekends from 12pm to 5pm.

Or if you already have your own Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard or Samsung Gear VR, you can take a panoramic tour of the penthouse suite from the comfort of your own home by visiting thebond.ca/virtual-reality.

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For more information, call 416 546 7525 or email info@thebond.ca.

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