Closing Deals in Presales: The Technology That Makes Selling Real Estate Online Easy
Notwithstanding a welcome departure from lead paint and asbestos, houses haven’t changed all that much in the past 50 years or so — and neither has the way they’re bought and sold. The real estate industry moves at a glacial pace thanks to a simple paradox: When markets are hot, business as usual is good enough, and when markets cool down, sellers are reluctant to invest limited capital in new technology.
If there’s one thing that will shake up a stagnant industry, however, it’s a global pandemic. As huge swaths of the workforce left the office to clock in online, people didn’t just lean on email to maintain productivity. Innovative tools supporting remote work like Zoom, Slack, Asana, and DocuSign saw mass adoption practically overnight, and the result has permanently altered norms of work. In the world of presale real estate, where online tools still exist in their most basic form, a similar transformation is underway.
Virtual Real Estate
You might be able to get a mortgage with a few clicks of a mouse, but actually buying a presale home is another matter. Houses are incredibly complex with countless unique options to choose from, and it’s almost impossible to pull the trigger on a purchase with nothing but photos, illustrations, and blueprints to pore over. That hesitation makes it difficult for sellers trying to win over potential buyers in a pandemic, whether customers are concerned about the coronavirus or just live too far away to make touring a model home practical.
Fortunately, online presales can offer a way to make the buying process much more transparent and give buyers a “build-your-own” experience — provided sellers have the right enablement tools like interactive 3D at their fingertips. This translates to selling more high-margin upgrades, reduced closing times (and associated costs), more potential international buyers, and increased website traffic generating more qualified leads.
Virtual walkthroughs of presale homes are already more common with tools like Matterport making 360-degree online tours possible. The adoption of virtual tours for spaces that have not yet been built has been slower. The technology needed for this is relatively new for this industry, but as a few innovative companies are leading the pack, buyer expectations are evolving. In the same way that many auto manufacturers offer online vehicle builders that help shoppers work through a complex series of customizations, architectural visualization firms are partnering with real estate developers to create configurable, interactive walkthroughs for an unsurpassed experience.
Individualized and customizable 3D experiences provide a more accurate representation than a generic show suite, still CGI images, or floorplans. Homebuyers want to really experience their future homes, and with the ability to contrast things like sunset views from the different balconies of available units, the medium diminishes the number of unknowns and makes the decision to buy easier. It also allows users to feast their eyes on how potential upgrades and additions might impact a space, putting formerly abstract expenses into a more attractive context. Upselling can have a major impact on a company’s overall profit in the presale space, so a tool that enables it will quickly become invaluable.
Real Estate Gets Game
Historically, 3D renderings have been cost-prohibitive to create, but gaming engines like Unreal and Unity have invested in making their tools beneficial to these markets by expanding their offerings beyond the "gaming" sector for specific industries like architectural visualization. By streamlining or even eliminating the process of importing a CAD file to a game engine and creating reusable asset libraries for easy development, content creation engines are taking architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry firms to the next level.
PureWeb, meanwhile, is positioned as a "consultative partner" — offering value from the ideation of a project through to launch and beyond. We’re also the only fully managed solution that takes something complex (like streaming an interactive experience seamlessly to audiences around the world) and makes it simple for our clients.
Data from the National Association of Realtors indicates that nearly half of all prospective home buyers start their searches online, but it’s important that human interactions still accompany digital experiences for big-ticket items like home sales. With PureWeb’s advanced streaming platform, sales representatives can guide potential buyers through a 3D walkthrough, pointing out important features or suggesting finishing details that will make the home shine. Other key personnel can also join in on a live video chat, and adding designers or other specialists to the experience ensures that the customer feels in control of the process from start to finish.
It’s a seller’s market now, but as accelerating home production increases supply and rising interest rates cool off demand, home sellers likely will pendulum back from boom to bust before they know it. Now is the time to invest in technology that can supercharge the presale process and keep units moving through all manner of markets.