A cofounder's Journey into Real Estate, and now into Virtual Reality.
By Eli McGeever
I’ve been in property since leaving high school – it’s the industry I wanted to be involved in. A year after I started, I left the industry and went to teach English in Shanghai, not knowing if real estate was really what I wanted to do. Two weeks after arriving, I knew it was. And after sticking it out in Shanghai, I packed my bags and moved back to Australia (where I would stay, in the property development industry, until I moved back to Shanghai in 2012).
Around 2010 I started at looking at some interesting new trends, especially within the Indian property market, within the property market: group buying. I thought of different ways of applying this to the Australian market, but couldn’t find a way that I thought would lead to a big enough discount for the consumer – in the region of 10%+.
Several years go by and I decide to pack up and head overseas and back to Shanghai, this time working in property and a growing trend in China at the time (and still is): outbound investment. It led me to working on interesting projects in parts of the world I never thought I’d travel to, let alone work. Places like Bulgaria to the Caribbean. Moving through this time, I noticed a number of crowd funding property websites start to emerge and it piqued my interest.
I dabbled, but really didn’t put in the time to make something from this industry. It’s a shame, as it’s one I feel I missed the boat on a little, and still remains a passion of mine. I would really like to see what can be done for first home buyers here, too.
After a couple of years living in Shanghai, I ventured down to Hong Kong mid-2014 to continue on in outbound investment. It was around the time that Oculus started grabbing headlines (for me at least) and knew instantly that VR would change the way property is bought and sold. It may not happen instantly, but it will happen. It wasn’t until 18 months later that I really moved into the virtual reality for property space.
The market possibilities that are available with VR are enormous. It's not just being able to walk around the spaces, checking out the view or deciding on a colour scheme. It's being able to place and purchase furniture so that it fits and can be delivered upon completion. It's being able to meet and talk to the agent in virtual reality from the other side of the world. It's being able to recreate the experience of being in a new home before construction has even started.
Just like the light bulb wasn’t the result of an evolution in candle technology, VR is a different ballgame to renderings, floor plans and videos for property. The applications and execution is very different and changing as VR makes its way into more peoples’ homes.
I’m excited and looking forward to the challenges and rewards ahead. Who will join me?