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Virtual Reality Apps

Use virtual reality to find a new apartment

Need a new place to live, but no time to visit potential properties? VR can help.

Sarah Tew/CNET
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Finding an apartment to rent can be a time-consuming process.

Real-life properties don't look like the pictures, or dozens of prospective applicants have already submitted bids before you.

Apartments.com is testing virtual reality tours so tenants can view a range of properties without ever needing to set foot in the actual house.

At a demo in San Francisco at the National Apartment Association conference in June 2016, attendees could walk through a series of properties using an HTC Vive headset and hand controllers.

"Some of the feedback that we got back on traditional photos and videos is that the consumer didn't trust the author of those medias because they felt like they were just giving you the best experience possible," said Joe Albrecht, vice president of software development at Costar.

"So VR puts the person in control of the experience and they like being able to walk around any part of the apartment."

While not strictly virtual reality, 360-degree video tours have also been changing the way buyers view properties. An agent from Peabody & Smith used a virtual tour to sell a house in New Hampshire to an international buyer. Based in Dubai, the buyer never actually set foot in the house before purchasing the property.

There is no official timeline available yet on when Apartments.com will make the HTC Vive VR experience available to the public.