Off-the-Plan Properties are now Open for Inspection

In the past couple of years, we have seen virtual reality go from an intriguing concept to a full-fledged strategy for off-the-plan property sales.

This is due to VR’s unprecedented ability to bring projects to life by recreating environments to scale and placing a potential buyer inside a building that has yet to be built.

There are many challenges to selling off-the-plan properties compared to established properties. One of the most significant and obvious challenges is that some people simply do not trust what they are going to get.

By making the intangible tangible, virtual reality provides an opportunity to de-mystify the buying experience for this subset of investors and it is already making a huge impression in the sale of properties all over the world.

We know from studies conducted by neuroscientists at Nielson that viewing content in VR compared to a 2D screen generates 27% more emotional activation, and that this emotional activation lasts 34% longer. In other words, people have a trust and acceptance of virtual reality environments which creates an emotional affinity with the what they are experiencing.

From a property sales perspective, this is powerful. The ability to take a person through a property virtually and activate them emotionally is hard to ignore. It also allows the sales agent to adopt approaches that are much closer to the tried and trusted techniques that real estate agents adopt when selling established properties.

What are the options?

Liminal 360’s CEO, Damian Moratti, has previously written for Urban Melbourne about the different kinds of experiences we have created to assist with the property sales process. These kinds of experiences include:

  • downloadable mobile VR lead generation and sales apps displaying photo-real rendered apartments; and
  • highly immersive experiences on more advanced systems such as the HTC Vive to showcase masterplans and to allow people to customise the interior of apartments.

We have even re-created heritage buildings such as the Coops Shot Tower for Melbourne Central.

Adoption rates continue to grow

Meanwhile, adoption rates and interest in VR continue to grow in Australia.

Google Trends data suggests that Melbourne and Sydney continue to be in the top 5 cities displaying regional interest in “virtual reality”.

Additionally, according to Telsyte’s Australian VR & AR Market Study 2017, Australia is a world leader in VR adoption, with household penetration of headsets set to reach 22.3% by 2020.

Part of the reason for this continued adoption is a better user experience due more advanced GPUs allowing for higher fidelity graphics and improved hardware.

Mobile VR is getting more comfortable, higher resolution, and more interactive. The leading mobile headsets are Google Daydream and Samsung’s Gear VR are both under $130 and both come with their own bluetooth controllers. The ability to utilise mobile phones provide for a more compelling and flexible means for sales agents to deliver and enhance the buying experience.

We are also about to see even more degrees of freedom emerge from the HTC Vive (the world’s most advanced VR system), which is about to go wireless!

This will provide a more elegant solution for property developers to showcase their vision in display suites.

With VR's emergence as a standard part of the armoury for any property developer, off-the-plan properties are now open for inspection.

Nick Busietta is the managing director at Liminal 360.

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