9 Best Real Estate and Architecture Augmented Reality Apps
The use of AR (augmented reality) as a marketing tool has really upped realtors’ games, as well as providing a launchpad for architects to modernize their design software and processes. Being able to simulate a building’s interior rather than just looking at a printed visual representation or 3D model is certainly a game-changer.
Similarly, instead of potential home buyers having to imagine what a property’s going to look like through outdated marketing tools, realtors can now show them through a complete augmented reality showcase.
Welcome to the world of fully-integrated AR apps. Apps that, through excellent design and fulfilling the market’s needs, enhance consumers’ and industry professionals’ buying and designing experiences.
In no particular order, let’s take a look at some of the most popular real estate and augmented reality apps…
Magicplan is already being used by realtors and architects with its main function being the creation of floor plans.
After scanning a room in as fast as 30 seconds, you can then integrate the following features to further enhance your floor plan:
- Questionnaires for inspections
- Personalized branding
- Materials and costs estimations
This makes it sound like it’s solely suited to architects. This is not the case, however. Once the floor plan is scanned and created, Magicplan can be used as a marketing tool for virtual tours, making it useable by architects AND realtors.
The popular Realtor.com entered the AR market with Street Peek back in 2017. It essentially allows a user to use GPS to get information on a property simply by pointing their smartphone at the property while the app is open.
This subsequent, helpful information available includes:
- Sale / rental price
- Recently sold price
- Estimated value
- No. of bedrooms and bathrooms
This allows potential buyers, investors, and developers the ability to get real-time information wherever they are. Not only that, but the app has a built-in map that is linked to the Realtor.com listing database so you can select properties in the vicinity.
Sorry to iOS users, though, this app is currently only available on Android devices.
A brief mention of Sign Snap is deserved here. Also developed by Realtor.com, it integrates with Street Peak by enabling a user to take a picture of a “For Sale” sign to get instant listing information of that property, as long as it’s in Realtor.com’s database. Pretty cool!
Commercial Real Estate AR
Similar to Street Peak, Commercial Real Estate AR focuses on enhancing the augmented reality market for commerce by using your device’s camera and GPS location to display the current information on a viewed property. Such information includes:
- Essential amenities
- The industries of the current tenants
- Whether there are any vacancies
Bear in mind that the current focus of this app is for the office environment and so is not currently compatible for residential real estate but does provide a service for commercial real estate.
Suffice to say, this app is definitely geared more towards consumers rather than architects but is an excellent example of how AR is taking over the real estate industry.
Straight from the developer’s mouths:
“ARKi helps visualize architectural projects in mixed reality…”
Available on both Android and iOS, ARKi allows real-time exploration of architectural models.
Apps like this seem to be a must-have in the current Digital Age, creating the opportunity to market, share and communicate designs on the fly. Synching with Cloud-based services such as Google Drive, Onedrive, and Dropbox, some of the key features of ARKi are:
- Importing 3D models from the Cloud
- Store models on your devices
- Create interactive presentations
Of further note, ARKi offers a free version with some basic features, as well as more advanced versions that allow for:
- Multiple projects at once
- Real-time shadows
Pair serves as a fully-functional AR solution pitched at the architectural room-design market
So, while not necessarily beneficial to realtors for selling a property, it’s definitely aligned to realtors who are looking to upscale properties from an investment point of view. Architects who are diversified into room furnishings and fittings will also greatly benefit from Pair.
Taking 3D models of rooms, Pair allows users to drag and drop furniture (for the home AND office) from their online catalog into the rooms, for a real-life visual experience of home a fully-furnished room will look.
It’s not a static model either; you can walk around the model with your device allowing a true AR experience.
Some further key features include:
- Object spatial accuracy and accurate scaling
- Detection and removal of real-world objects
- Realistic lighting and materials
Please be aware, though, that Pair is only currently available for iOS users.
Marketed as an AR AND a VR app, the main aim of SmartReality is to convert 2D plans into 3D interactive visualizations for BIM (Building Information Modeling).
You could say that this iOS and Android app immediately launches the traditional building modeling sector into the current tech era. The software creators’ aim is to make you believe that you’re submerged in reality, rather than being aware that you’re actually in augmented reality.
SmartReality clearly focuses on the building industry and so perhaps offers the real estate world with some value, as well as value for architects. There is definitely some leverage here for it to serve as a marketing tool for realtors and property developers.
The modeling is created by integrating with a headset, allowing for images and data to be taken and collected in real-time as a building is being constructed. The model can then be pulled apart and the data analyzed further as and when needed
James Benham from JBKnowledge (the company behind the app) says:
“…the elimination of huge swathes of work that’s done manually right now.”
Once again, SmartReality is only currently available for iOS users.
Not necessarily the most original title for an AR app, but don’t let that put you off. Augment serves as a true AR visualization of how commercial products look in a home or in a business.
Simply by opening up the app, selecting a product and aiming your device at the intended space, you can immediately see how that product will look in the defined area.
It’s a pretty bold statement to make, but the developers tout it as “the largest eCommerce 3D product catalog for retailers and brands.”
Not only does Augment serve to drive field sales and eCommerce, but further features worth mentioning are:
- A 3D viewer for any webpage
- A 3D Vault for safe storage and sharing capacity between teams and customers
- Team management for internal AR projects
AirMeasure is a good place to finish up this list of 9 apps, purely because it fits into both the real estate and architecture spheres, and also has some handy personal uses.
This could easily feature as an article on its own due to containing over 15 tools, but likely of importance to you are the following:
- Measuring modes
- Virtual furniture and modeling modes
- Stud finder
- Bubble level
Although the measuring functions are its main sales feature, the floorplan function is of prominent note, in that you can convert measurements taken from AR straight into a 2D editor. You can then make design changes and edits, integrating fixtures and fittings before saving and sharing the images.
If you’re in the real estate market, the measuring functions will allow you to confirm exact room dimensions on your device, allowing you to create accurate marketing material without the need of a physical tape measure. You could even share any of the modeling designs with potential customers when a property is at the design stage.
This is by no means a complete list of real estate and architecture augmented reality apps. There are many more out there, but the above seem to be the more popular and developed ones, with significant market share and investor backing. Augment, for instance, has been used by the likes of Microsoft and Coca-Cola.
Before committing to a specific app, or a combination thereof, be sure to carry out your own research and perhaps consult your peers as to which they use. This is most definitely important when making a financial commitment—taking the ARKi app as an example.
Of no doubt is the momentous shift towards augmented and virtual reality. A shift occurring in many sectors, not just real estate and architecture. The fact is, there are multiple apps that will cover the same functions and features, and there’s no denying that the market wants you to use them.
Homebuyers want to be taken on a virtual tour of a home no matter where they are. Likewise, architects are calling for faster and more commercial apps and software kits to improve their processes.
Sabine Ghali is Managing Director at Buttonwood Property Management, a property management company in Toronto. She is an entrepreneur at heart who endeavors to help investors create real estate wealth over time in the Greater Toronto Area. Sabine is published in a number of media outlets, including Entrepreneur, Toronto Sun and Gulf News, among many others.