How virtual reality and augmented reality reduce reliance on display homes and suites.

There’s no denying the importance of providing potential buyers with the experience of exploring a display home or suite in person. While walking through the property, they imagine what their lives will look like, what they will do with their families and how they will feel in this home. However, what if you could give buyers this experience before they even visit the display home or suite?

Through the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology, property developers and builders can guide buyers to envision their future lives before they even set foot on the property. This article will walk you through some of the ways virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) reduce the dependence on physical display homes and suites while generating sales leads and lowering costs. 

How virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies are used within the property development sector.

Before we jump in, you might ask, “how do VR and AR technologies work in property development?” For a more in-depth explanation, check out our article (link to EnvisionVR article about 5 terms to get you started with VR and AR in the real estate sector), but for now, we’ve included enough information to get you up to speed.

Through the use of a VR headset, tablet, or phone buyers can enjoy a virtual viewing. There are two types of virtual viewings offered through EnvisionVR: guided viewing and solo viewing.

Guided viewings are controlled by the real estate or sales agent. They use a tablet to take the buyer on a tour of the off-the-plan property. The buyer can wear a VR headset or use a tablet or smartphone for viewing. The viewing can be conducted remotely or face-to-face, allowing for flexibility for both the buyer and the agent. 

Solo viewings allow the buyer to explore at their own pace without the guidance of an agent. Buyers can navigate through the property by clicking on the screen of their device. To experience full immersion in the property, buyers can use a tablet, phone or VR headset to walk around the property in 1:1 scale. This is incredibly impactful during the discovery stage because it sparks the imagination of buyers.

Now that you’re familiar with the technology, let’s talk about how VR and AR technologies can help to reduce the reliance on display homes and suites.

1It’s cost-efficient and faster

It’s no secret that building display homes or suites is expensive. However, VR and AR technologies can significantly reduce the costs of marketing properties, while increasing sales. The average cost to build a physical 4-bedroom display home is $1.3 million and takes approximately one year to construct. Comparatively, a virtual 4-bedroom display home costs $13,650 and can be completed within four weeks. Not only can builders and developers save money by using virtual display homes, but they can also save time and get in front of buyers sooner. 

According to Construction Week, using VR real estate tours leads to sales cycles that are 30 per cent faster, which cuts down on the costs of maintaining a display home or suite and enables agents to move onto new projects.

2Show your full catalogue

When buyers visit a display home or suite, they experience a property designed to appeal to a broad audience, not necessarily them as individuals. VR and AR technology gives builders and developers the chance to customise the viewing experience based on the needs of each buyer, which in turn increases sales conversions. While display homes and suites can only showcase one colour scheme and floor plan, EnvisonVR’s technology allows buyers to compare many designs in 1:1 scale and in a range of colour schemes and styles. It allows builders and developers to appeal to a broader range of buyers’ tastes and takes away from them having to imagine what the finished product will look like based on 2D floor plans and photo renders. This gives buyers more certainty in the finished product and can help to alleviate hesitancy when buying off the plan. 

3Reach more buyers

Display homes and suites provide tangible examples of how a future home will look and speak to the craftsmanship of the builder. However, they are also in only one location and the market of potential buyers is limited by distance. On the other hand, virtual viewings allow developers and builders to reach a wider audience, including international and interstate buyers. While buyers will experience hesitation at the thought of travelling to view a display home, it’s easy for them to put on a VR headset or use a smart device to walk through a property in their own location. 

4Appeal to buyers during the discovery period.

A recent study conducted by Matterport reported that 92 per cent of home buyers search on the internet before contacting an agent. This statistic demonstrates that the content and information an agent displays on their website is critical in swaying the buyer’s opinion about the property. It doesn’t matter if the display house or suite is exceptional if the buyer never visits the physical property. Virtual viewings are a great way to generate interest in a property during the discovery stage and allow the buyer to explore at their own pace. Instead of being beholden to the traditional opening hours of a physical display suite, buyers can be exploring any of your virtual properties at a time that suits them. If they want to view the property at 9 pm while sitting on their couch in their pj’s they can! It’s all about creating a buying experience that works for the buyer and gives them as much certainty in the future design as possible.

5Stay in control of sales through guided viewings.

During the virtual viewing, the sales agent is in control of the experience through their tablet, guiding the buyer through the property and talking to them in real-time as if they were at a physical display home. This allows the sales agent to keep rapport with the buyer and ensure that they remain in control of the sales process even if they aren’t in the same location. Multiple buyers can join the same virtual viewing which means that a husband and wife can be exploring the virtual property at the same time, talking to each other about what they are seeing and asking the sales agent any questions as they come up. 

6Stay ahead of your competition

According to Core Logic, Australia’s housing values peaked in March 2021 and have continued to rise throughout the backend of 2021. 

As property prices increase, so does growth within the property development market. Core Logic reported that during the height of the pandemic, the number of dwelling units commenced equalled approximately 40,000. However, by October 2021, that number had increased to over 60,000 units. 

To attract the right buyers and stay a step ahead of the competition, it’s necessary to implement every tool available. This is where VR and AR technologies step in. While real-world display suites and homes remain important, adding virtual viewings as a complementary channel is a game-changer that will keep your business competitive in an increasingly saturated market.

Let’s wrap it up.

Although display homes and suites are in no danger of being replaced, their use in property and real estate marketing can be significantly optimised when combined with VR and AR technology. When used in conjunction, VR technology and physical display homes and suites can decrease sales cycles, foster buyer confidence, generate sales leads, reduce marketing costs and, most importantly, help your buyer find the perfect property. For more information about EnvisionVR’s offerings, please visit our home builders or developers and agents pages.

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