Google Glass Could Transform Virtual Home Tours

Missouri Association of Realtors

Teah Hopper, director of digital engagement for the Missouri Association of Realtors, checks out Google Glass.

Real estate agents have a new way to conduct virtual tours using Google Glass, the equivalent of a hands-free smartphone for your face.

This 1.5-ounce wearable computer controlled by your voice or a finger allows the real estate agent to video chat with up to nine other people while simultaneously showing them a live tour of a property. Google+ Hangout technology is baked into Glass, allowing hands-free voice or video calls directly from the agent’s point of view.  

Recently, I talked with the Missouri Association of Realtors about how new wearable computing like Google Glass and free digital tools like Hangouts On Air can enhance the buyer/agent relationship. Glass could be available to the public as early as this year.

Home Tours Reimagined

As part of the invitation-only Glass Explorer program, Veterans United has been experimenting with the first generation of the device and how real estate agents can use it to help veterans achieve their dreams of homeownership.

To do a live virtual tour, all the agent needs is a 3G, 4G or WiFi connection and Google Glass. Using Glass, the agent invites the buyer to a video call and then walks through the property as if the agent is the arms and legs of the buyer, pausing in real time to answer questions, lingering at a certain spot or getting a different camera angle. Because Glass does not require holding anything to record, the agent can walk through the home with their hands free to open doors, point out beautiful views and turn the faucets. The buyer experiences the property from a first person point of view and is able to tell the agent in real time what they want to see.

Buyers can also use Google Glass to search for homes. Trulia has a Google Glass app that takes advantage of Glass’ ability to give directions to a property, video call an agent and with a finger swipe on the forehead, view photos or videos of the property.

Something else to watch is how iBeacon might integrate with Glass in the future. iBeacon is a new kind of low-power transmitter that’s able to send push notifications to phones or wearable devices. Imagine an iBeacon transmitter attached to a yard sign. When the buyer gets close to the property, they’re notified with information about it. Sure beats getting out of your car in the rain to grab a house flyer!

Google Helpouts

Glass could also eliminate geography as a barrier to open houses. In fact, agents could host multiple open houses at the same time from a single Hangout. Buyers could virtually hop from home to home without ever leaving their couches!

Google Helpouts are also changing the way real estate agents communicate with the public. Helpouts are Google+ Hangouts combined with a see-commerce transaction.

Basically, Helpouts are a way for people not in the same physical space to conduct business via video chat. The services provided can be free to build listings or paid where customers can checkout using Google Wallet. Keep in mind, Google charges a flat 20 percent transaction fee on all paid, non-Health Helpouts.

Real Estate agents are hosting Helpouts to give lessons on everything from home staging to inspections. Because Helpouts are indexed in Google search, each time you list a Helpout you’re increasing the likelihood that your brand will show up in a Google search. It’s like being listed in a new kind of video Yellow Pages.

When it comes to Google Glass, Hangouts and Helpouts, this is a unique opportunity to develop face to face relationships with buyers or sellers even if they live in another state. Now that’s using your head!

Resources

Google+ overview: www.google.com/+/learnmore/getstarted/guide.html

Google Helpouts:  helpouts.google.com/home

Private Hangouts: www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/

Hangouts On Air:  www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/onair.html

Google Glass: www.google.com/glass/start/