Why Big Real Estate Firms Use PropTech to Sell Properties
May 25, 2021
It would not be an exaggeration to say that most of a real estate sales agent’s job consists of communication. Agents communicate with their clients, with prospective buyers, and with their team. PropTech can assist agents in all three said areas of communication.
In what follows, I will zoom in (no pun intended) on virtual viewing technology as one specific category of PropTech.
Real estate professionals are constantly trying to tell the story of the property they are selling and they are using visualization to help them. So, they make use of the most flattering pictures, employ a map showing directions to features on the property, or in some cases even organize video walkthroughs. Agents aim to show the property they are selling through a perfectly packaged lens that reaches out and grabs the (prospective) buyer.
There are two areas of communication when virtual touring technology helps the agents tell the story of the property:
1. Showcasing an Existing Property
Virtual viewing technology allows buyers to view properties in depth across the world. Clients can immerse themselves using VR headsets or control a 360-degree walkthrough from the comfort of their own home. Discovering a property’s features from a distance has never been easier. Virtual touring technology also offers the seller the opportunity to make a robust information sharing experience, showcasing points of interest by integrating hyperlinks to additional information, images, video and audio.
There used to be a time when getting 360-degree images taken, stitching them together, and adding hyperlinks was only done by two companies in the market, and it came at a hefty price. More companies have begun to offer solutions that make it possible for agents to easily develop 3D virtual touring themselves.
Some vendors are providing 3D virtual tour service solutions that enable agents to take a picture from their own phone, rotator device, or fisheye lens. A sales agent doesn’t have to worry about learning a new skill anymore, but can simply send their pictures to a vendor’s tech team to do the heavy lifting. For example, Asteroom 360 has developed several products and services that make it easy to snap photos with your smartphone and capture a 360-degree experience. The company will then use those photos to develop a dollhouse, with 3D dimensions, and create 2d floor plans. It literally used to take agents hours to do what these software companies are assisting users to do in minutes.
National Land Realty, the company for which I work, has Land Tour 360®, a proprietary interactive touring technology that allows buyers to fully tour a property from their computer or phone, without ever having to step foot on it. Users can - among other things - see the boundary lines between properties and view a property from a variety of angles.
2. Collaborating on a New Design
There is even more potential for growth in virtual technology that is being used to show “to be” property than there is in the “as in” category.
Every land realtor is familiar with the difficulty some buyers will have to simply envision an under construction home they are considering buying. Tools that enable a prospective buyer to visualize the home design in 3D will help complete the vision and close the sale.
There are two types of construction home buyers who walk into the office of a broker or real estate agent:
- The buyers looking for land to fit the dream home they always wanted to build. They’re fitting the land lot to the home.
- The buyers looking for land in a location they always wanted to live. They’re fitting the home to the land lot.
The two types of buyers have different priorities, but in either case, there’s a need to create multiple scenarios based on many factors to see if a specific home will work on a particular lot. Tools to allow the buyer to discover the different options will come of great help in this.
One can envision solutions that enable a buyer to choose from different styles of homes with different square footage. They can then be placed on a map that includes the parcel lot lines. Then add in data that controls the buildable area like setbacks, zoning restrictions, and buffers to resource protected areas. We don’t have to stop at new home builds. We can continue with adding a new barn on the property, or maybe a solar farm, or even a couple of storage garages.
Today, this technology is still very much in the hands of architects only, but the available solutions are poised to find their way into the wider market and be part of the tech stack of any land real estate company that wants to cater to the information needs of contemporary buyers.
Virtual touring is truly offering great opportunities to real estate professionals for showcasing existing properties to prospective buyers and the features and benefits of these applications will only continue to expand. Next to that, within the next few years, technology that allows for concept communication is also poised to take off and change the buying experience forever.
Curtis Williams is a Land Professional with National Land Realty licensed in Virginia and based in Washington, DC. The company’s proprietary 360-degree viewing technology, Land Tour 360®, as well as its GIS land mapping system, LandBase™, is offered for free to the public. More information at nationalland.com.
Source: Why Big Real Estate Firms Use PropTech to Sell Properties National Land Realty (May 2021) Curtis Williams