The problem is very genuine and almost everyone facing the same problem especially people from outside and came here for study or visit.
Who could know better than me, this was the same condition as I had faced 6 months ago, when I did plan to rent a private apartment. I contacted with broker/owner by using city24.ee but not all of them was replied.
I will visit before final decision and check surroundings of apartment like nearest market, bus station, neighbor, heating, elevator etc and also will look equipment in working condition with closer look because most of the time floor is damaged and you cannot see & feel in images after these I will make my final decision.
In this scenario, mostly focused on apartment condition, the problem in apartment finding might be possible due to other reasons like I mentioned above mostly people focuses on those apartments whose near to bus station, market and good neighbor, heating system and facilities in building, these can be highlight in this scenario.
I liked the 360 virtual reality view idea and it will be great, helpful and unique in current market. And definitely idea looking realistic especially due to the example addressed in this scenario.
It is the same filtering process as other applications are doing, you can add advance search feature to make more feasible and helpful to user like by adding filters for number of rooms, size range, number of bathrooms, particular area selection etc. So, keep these filters in mind when you plan to design filtering mechanism.
I was using the same type of search on city24.ee and it was really handy. A question that came to my mind is that, Is all of the apartments and rooms at this website will upload 360/VR compatible images?
In this scenario, the usage of VR feature described perfectly. The scenario seems interesting and as an exploring the apartment or renting place in more detail is a great thing to help user to make decision easier.
But the problem is, people also want to know about surroundings and want to check in working condition with own eyes like fridge, heating system, washing machine etc.
I think people can reserve those places by using this online system and help to make decision easier but they would visit before final decision as I explained “why people will visit before final decision?” in problem scenario.
My first impression and thinking after reading this scenario is that, it is not possible to contract online, because you need to sign contract by yourself on hard copy documents, one for yourself and one for owner(as I experienced before) and nobody will give keys without knowing others and doing conversation.
It is not looking very realistic but I think it can be possible to sign contract digitally and do conversation on skype or by something else.
This type of booking scenario/feature play an important role on both sides by saving lot of valuable time.