Will there come a day when buyers stop visiting homes in person and instead just slip on a virtual reality headset to tour a potential home? Realtor Magazine's contributing editor Melissa Dittmann Tracey explores the role VR headsets could play in the real estate market, potentially bringing listings directly to buyers even if they are halfway around the world.

VR headsets have become more available to consumers with introductions like Google's low-cost Cardboard viewers that work with smartphones, but still can prove pricey. Until the technology becomes less expensive, it will most likely remain in use for only luxury properties.

Matthew Hood of Sotheby’s International Realty in Los Angeles has been experimenting for more than a year by allowing clients to tour multimillion-dollar residences using the Samsung Gear VR headset (available for $99 for certain Galaxy smartphones). For example, his clients can view a $6.95 million ocean-side Malibu property in 3-D by putting on the headset, which then fills the buyers’ complete field of vision with the 10,000-square-foot home. The technology allows users to look up, down, and from side to side as they take in the spacious kitchen, wine cellar, and outdoor infinity pool, along with details such as the wrought-iron chandelier and French limestone floors.

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