Real estate and digital seem so far away from each other. Buying a house online is so absurd for some of you. We buy shoes, electronics, or earphones online – and if we’re feeling too adventurous, maybe a couch. But a house? That might sound crazy to some of you. But actually it’s not. You probably read some of our articles on virtual reality, augmented reality and all the other concepts that come with that. Yes, they are impressive. Yes they are fun. They are also used in business, and especially in Real Estate. Growing up, I have always tried to understand blueprints and visualise how the house or the appartement would look like in real life. I can tell you one thing: It is very tough for some. Then again, technology made our lives easier. With virtual tours, and virtual reality, you can now walk around an appartement that is not even built yet, imagine the different floor textures and wall colours, and even check out the view from the balcony.
On the 19th of September, I was invited by Habiteo, to discover how technology and Real estate meet. I found it extremely interesting to be in the South of France, while sitting in a bus in the 9th district in Paris, thanks to VR.
Real estate: a digitally disrupted environment
The Real Estate industry, as many others before, is being digitally disrupted. Real estate (potential) buyers do not want to visit a high street branch anymore. They would rather check out the property online.Why ? Well put yourself in a buyer’s shoes. Would you rather look at houses sitting in a noisy agency, or comfortably sitting on your couch, with your family around?
The Real Estate industry is ripe for change for many different reasons. I will list and briefly explain the main reasons, that seem obvious and interesting to look at.
To begin with, when looking for a house or a flat, one tries to gather as much information as possible. And we all know, the Internet is the perfect place for that. Let’s put ourselves in a particular situation to better grasp this whole concept : my situation 3 years ago, when I first moved to Manchester in the United Kingdom. I looked for flats online, until I found the perfect one. How did I choose? The answer is simple: virtual tours (when available), and a lot of google maps. I had to know where the closest Sainsbury was, and the closest bus stop. I also needed to locate the flat according the the School, the gym, and the city center. Is this street residential, or is it underpopulated? I found the answer to all my questions online. Google maps, the school’s student platform and the property’s website.
Taking advantage of the disruption
I think we all agree on one thing: it is challenging to convince potential clients to buy something that is not even built yet.
In today’s environment, some people do not even have the time to go to the point of sale, or the agency due to their busy schedules. People look for flexibility: they need something that they can access whenever they have a bit of time. And again, the Internet is the answer.
I had a very interesting conversation with Jeanne Massa, the co-founder of Habiteo, who explained to me all their concept. Yes, i’ll explain it back to you. Basically, they use 3D modelling technologies, to allow potential buyers, to step inside an unbuilt home. This model follows perfectly the architect’s plans. They go even further.
How to buy an unbuilt house?
Someone looking to buy an unbuilt house might (and definitely will) find this solution to be more reassuring. They could visit the appartement inside out, as well as use the interactive map to check how far is the school, the market or the mall.
Technology is not only used for visiting the properties, all the procedures are becoming more digitalised thanks to innovative solutions like Habiteo. Let’s look at some numbers: before, it took 7 or 8 meetings to close a deal. This number has dropped to 3 or 4 meetings. That’s great news for anyone looking to buy a property, because who isn’t happy with less paperwork ?
Personally, I believe that the digital transformation of the real estate industry is great for three main reasons.
ONE. It gives a potential client so much flexibility. Looking at a property in a calm and comforting spot, like your living room for example, can have a positive impact on the buying decision.
TWO. Reassurance. This is exactly what anyone looking to buy a house should seek. Why are some realtors better than others? Simply because they are comforting and “trustworthy”.
THREE. Satisfaction. When looking at a blueprint we can try to imagine what the real appartement will look like. And then , sometimes, it turns out to be something completely different. That, can be a bad surprise for some. With this solution, a buyer (or investor) sees exactly how the output will be.
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