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  • Writer's pictureAron Pinto

Video Games That Teach You About Real Estate

People are spending a lot more time at home right now. It’s a noble thing, and the right thing to do to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and help us all get back to normal as quickly as is safely possible. One of the things that lots of us are doing right now is playing a lot more video games.

If your ‘post coronavirus’ plans include buying a new Waterloo Region home, or selling the one you have – or you want to get started now (you still can, things are just a little different) you can put some of that extra video game time to good use and learn more about real estate in general by choosing a game that will help you do so. Here’s a look at some great ones well worth adding to your video game library.

If you want to speculate on some virtual land, the PC game classic Second Life offers a hot market. Designed by Linden Labs and launched in 2003, it began as a tiny island in the middle of cyberspace.

In 15 years, this virtual world has grown into a mammoth community where for pennies on the dollars, you can buy your own property using Lindens, the Second Life currency. Many who would be real life speculators who don’t have the cash to invest in a beachfront bungalow can do so in the virtual world.

The Second Life real estate virtual marketplace looks amazingly like an MLS listing page featuring smiling faces of virtual agents whom you can contact for more information. You can rent properties weekly or monthly, and get some interesting upgrades for your existing properties like skylights to increase its value.

Those addicted to house flipping shows might want to try their luck virtually before playing the actual real estate investment game.

House Flip, an online game by Shockwave lets you buy, improve, and resell properties. The game does differs drastically from real life in that 5 minutes is plenty of time to clean, repair and upgrade a property.

You play for tokens and trophies, so you don’t risk any real capital; however, it does give you an idea of how the flipping process works. And just how hard it can be if you don’t get things right. These days in the game you have HGTV’s Chip and Joanna Gaines to help you, but that’s not the case in real life…

If you ever enjoyed building a metropolis by playing Sim City, you’ll know that one basic feature relevant in the real estate game is missing—outside forces totally ruining your plans.

In the basic Sim model, the more you grow the better you do, but as in real life, this is not always the case. Game designer and professor Paolo Pedercini decided that to have a city you need some authentic characters and real life challenges to reflect today’s market.

The role you’ll play in Nova Alea is that of speculator whose challenge it is to operate in a land not made up just of sims, but a blend of wealthy and disadvantaged humans who need coexist in order to survive and thrive, and find places to live, in the environment, while being manipulated by outside economic forces and trends.

If you own a Nintendo Switch you may very well be one of the millions of players who are escaping the current restrictions of the real world by heading of to build and improve your own private island.

While fishing and chasing bugs is fun, there’s actually quite a bit you can learn about real estate too.

For example, Tom Nook – a slightly shady character, we think you’ll agree – will continually encourage taking out larger and larger loans to improve your island home – after you pay off the initial mortgage loan – but if you want to improve your island – and the value of your home – doing so may not be the best idea. After all, what good is a great house if the neighbourhood is bad?

And then there’s decorating. While you probably won’t fill the Waterloo Region home you eventually buy with cardboard chairs and DIY easter egg beds it is good practice for the decorating work to come!

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