Until recently, agents and marketers have had a limited range of digital assets to show unbuilt projects to buyers.
These limitations are particularly acute in a slowing property market, with off-the-plan sales stalling as negative sentiment and lending curbs limit investors and buyers.
Until recently, real estate agents have a limited range of digital assets to explain unbuilt projects to buyers – 2D plans, elevations, 3D renders and animated walkthroughs.
Combined with a show suite, they have been the only tools that help buyers understand and visualise a development before purchasing.
But even with these assets, it can be daunting for homebuyers to make decisions with confidence.
Have they understood the development accurately? Do the curated images tell the full story? Buyers need the confidence to commit.
Architectural visualisation and rendering technology Realspace expands the 20th-century tools of real estate agents from simple 2D plans, elevations and basic renders to a complete real-time digital 3D visualisation, allowing buyers to understand and visualise a development before purchasing.
The combined touch-screen and VR display suite Realspace – the first of its kind in Australasia – allows buyers and agents to explore unbuilt property by “walking” through a complete digital 3D model in real-time while providing access to all sales collateral, including live pricing data, plus the ability to instantly produce high-resolution custom 3D renderings.
“Realspace is an interactive digital display suite created specifically for large touchscreen TVs that showcases and sells off-the-plan property.”
“We’ve been creating architectural visualisations for over fifteen years,” Buildmedia’s technical director Tim Johnson said.
“And with the rise of social media, we’ve seen the agents’ need for fresh content grow rapidly.
“They market unbuilt projects for months before a project is completed, which is challenging with only a limited set of images and animations.”
The Realspace model and interface allows agents to capture unlimited print-quality and web-quality images – from A5 to billboard size – and marketing-quality videos.
A handful of renders tell part of the story. Realspace tells the full story – any angle, at any time of day, with any pre-set finish.
This means agents have fresh content for social media channels and buyers can save and email their favourite views and finishes.
One of the restrictions of traditional digital assets is their fixed point of view. Even though animations and panoramas feel dynamic, they are pre-set, curated experiences.
But with powerful real-time engines coming on stream over the last five years, Auckland-based 3D visualisation studio Buildmedia has been able to apply the technology to unbuilt architecture with great success.
Buildmedia trialled a beta version of the platform in 2015 and, after extremely positive feedback from both buyers and agents, they launched Realspace 12 months later.
This is the first time the technology has been harnessed for selling buildings off-the-plan in Australasia, and it adds a powerful new tool to the marketing mix.
“Buyers can find it hard to read architectural plans, so Realspace helps them understand and visualise the building and views,” Barfoot & Thompson marketing manager Matt Baird said.
“Our team enjoys using it and we get good feedback from buyers – they really feel they understand the spaces.”
Realspace hands over control of the digital 3D model from the 3D artist to buyers and agents. They choose the view, time of day and finishes.
Each apartment or dwelling has its own data, so the buyer can look up the price, floor and land areas, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, unit numbers and contract status. Buyer information can be saved along with their preferred unit and configured finishes.
Views of the surrounding area are accurately represented by incorporating 360-degree drone photography into the interior views. In addition to gaining a better feel for the interiors, buyers gain a good understanding of the surrounding urban landscape.
“We have found Realspace particularly useful for greenfield sites,” says Baird.
“It allows buyers to see the scale of the subdivision and where the houses are located. And, together with drone photography, which apartments have amazing views.
“Buyers can really see what they’ll get.”
Homebuyers are technically savvy and wary of curated artist impressions. They seek more design and spatial information before gaining the confidence to invest in an unbuilt home or apartment. This makes gaining a buyer’s trust a critical step in real estate marketing, and agents can assist by removing the guesswork for buyers when visualising the building.
By placing control in the hands of buyers, Realspace allows people to fully explore the model and control where they go.
This conveys honesty and transparency, which can be slower or more difficult to achieve using only a handful of emotive 3D renders and floor plans.
“A recurring comment from the sales teams we’ve worked with is that sales acquisition time is reduced as homebuyers understand the off-the-plan development quicker,” Buildmedia’s managing director Gareth Ross says.
“When the agent shows a homebuyer through the modelled interior with the touch screen, they act as a guide, explaining the building, answering questions and showing different finishes.
“Buyers can also take control of the touchscreen – it’s as easy to navigate as Google Street View. Plus, they can also use a plug-and-play VR headset for a more immersive experience.’
With a large visual display to focus on, it is very easy for agents to break the ice and engage buyers one-to-one.
Agents feel more technically equipped and have the ability to answer more questions using real-time visuals. And buyers feel more informed and empowered through a better understanding of the development.
Streaming Realspace for online mobile devices will be launched in early 2019.
User insights released by major property marketing websites are unanimous: more visual content leads to more engagement and more time spent by buyers on a property listing.
Trademe.co.nz says property listings with a minimum of 10 or 20 images are saved to watchlists at least 45 per cent the rate of listings with fewer images.
“We are always exploring new and innovative ways to leverage 3D assets beyond the traditional still image render or animation,” says Johnson.
“We’ve made the Realspace digital model interactive and explorable, and given it a longer lifecycle than that of traditional marketing content.
“The result is a more intimate, experience-based tour, leading to a deeper connection with the unbuilt architecture for both the homebuyer and agent.”
In addition to the launch of streaming Realspace to online users on any device in early 2019, the Buildmedia team are investigating an analytics feature that tracks buyers’ interests, such as the most frequented spaces and the most popular finishes; and a permission-based data capture of buyers’ contact details.
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Contact Buildmedia in Australia on 1800 98 28 08 or in New Zealand on +64 9 3666 468 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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