April 7, 2020
Client viewings during a health crisis
3D renderings offer a zero-contact alternative to open houses and show suites
The COVID-19 outbreak is having profound effects on just about every industry right now, and the real estate and architecture spaces are no exception. Between social distancing, self-isolation, and quarantines, many clients are unable to venture out to look at properties.
But this doesn’t mean that business has to come to a screeching halt. And in this article, we’re going to explore why.
Open houses and show suites: no-nos during a health crisis
While open houses and show suites are commonly used tools for realtors and architecture firms, there is simply no responsible way to hold an open house or welcome visitors to a show suite while maintaining proper social distancing and high levels of hygiene.
It seems that they are the latest casualties of the coronavirus pandemic—and there’s no telling how long this might continue for. Certainly, though, for the next few months these options are off the table.
In light of this, industry professionals and clients are being urged to take advantage of virtual options that eliminate the need to gather in groups, while still allowing clients to get a full sense of a project.
Leveraging technology to fill the void
This is where architectural visualization comes in. In its most basic form, an architectural visualization can be a sketch or 2D rendering of a building or suite. But architectural renders have evolved steadily since they became popular in the 1970s and can now be used as incredibly effective design and selling tools.
Essentially, a 3D architectural rendering provides an accurate and realistic visual representation of the finished product, whether that be a home, a suite, or an office building or hotel. And while that may sound like an expensive process to go through, improvements to hardware and software over the last couple decades (and especially over the last few years) mean that it’s actually quicker and more cost effective than ever before.
Animation is also becoming more popular, typically for explaining how a project will work or to provide context for it. Animations can be particularly useful for more complex projects as they’re excellent for conveying technical details that might otherwise go unnoticed—but they’re also perfect for things like virtual walkthroughs.
So, how can these technologies replace in-person sales tools like open houses and show suites? And how can you leverage them during a challenging time when in-person contact just isn’t an option?
Here are some of the key benefits of using 3D rendering instead.
Clients can imagine the real possibilities of a space
High-quality 3D renderings allow clients to imagine themselves in a space without ever stepping foot—they’re that realistic. Renderings can show a lot of detail. They convey the feel of a space and allow you to add or subtract certain elements (like objects) for scale and to give clients a sense of what is possible. And whereas open houses often take place in empty spaces, with 3D renderings you can decorate to show it in the best possible light.
You put the client in the driver’s seat
There was a time when narrated video tours were popular, but they really don’t bring much value to the client. Open houses and show suites are effective because they allow clients to walk through a home or suite at their own pace and explore things the way they want to explore. Luckily, it’s possible to recreate this experience virtually! A 3D interactive walkthrough offers a virtual version of the space and puts the client in complete control to explore. They can explore the different rooms, turn around, and zoom in or out on details, letting them feel like they’re taking a tour—but from afar. It also helps them see things like the flow of light and experience the layout of the space.
It’s an efficient use of resources
Open houses and show suites are notorious for using lots of resources—time, money, and materials and labour. And in the case of show suites, these are wasted resources, as they get demolished once the ‘show’ phase is over. While 3D renderings are an investment to be sure, they’re a one-time investment that produces valuable digital assets that can be used for multiple purposes. Not only can they offer an online alternative to an open house or show suite, but they can also be used in print marketing materials, on social media, in email campaigns, and on your website.
It makes things easy for clients (and you)
Between juggling work and personal commitments, people are busy—so they appreciate when you make things as easy as possible for them. Offering the ability to view (and even tour!) photorealistic renderings of a home or suite online removes scheduling hassles from the picture and allows clients to check out the space when it’s best for them. And make no mistake: delivering quality and saving your clients’ time is a win for everyone, and may just result in more sales.
Virtual reality is an easy(ish) next step
With 3D renderings as a base, the opportunities for VR are pretty incredible. In the not-so-distant future, it may be possible to showcase a space in virtual reality. The clients will be able to walk through just as they would in an open house or show suite—but they won’t actually need to be in the space to do so.
You can set yourself apart from the competition
When a crisis happens, how you respond to it says a lot about you and your business. For some, business might come to a standstill in the absence of open houses and show suites. But by leveraging 3D renderings to their fullest potential, you can demonstrate to clients that you’re prepared and that you take their business seriously—and that even when an unexpected event happens, you’re there to deliver the exceptional service you’re known for… even if it’s in a different way.