Real Estate

You Can Now Use Virtual Reality to Tour Condo Buildings Before They’re Finished

Illustration by Diego Patino.

In our competitive market, it’s not unusual for eager condo-hunters to buy “pre-construction”—i.e., before the building is even done. Typically, this involves agreeing to put a contract on a unit based on looking at renderings and blueprints. More and more, though, buying pre-construction involves virtual reality.

At the Westlight condos going up in DC’s West End, developer EastBanc lets you try on virtual-reality goggles that make you feel as if you’re inside various parts of the building, including the lobby, the rooftop pool deck, and one of the condos. Other builders use YouTube’s 360-degree video service: While standing in the construction site, you hold up the phone, pan around, and the finished version of whatever area the phone is trained on immediately appears on its screen. It feels like magic—or at least an impressive sales tactic.

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Senior Editor

Marisa M. Kashino joined Washingtonian in 2009 as a staff writer, and became a senior editor in 2014. She oversees the magazine’s real estate and home design coverage, and writes long-form feature stories. She was a 2020 Livingston Award finalist for her two-part investigation into a wrongful conviction stemming from a murder in rural Virginia.