When selling luxury real estate, virtual reality technology can accelerate the design process and reduce costs.
In blog articles we posted recently, we discussed the benefits of virtual reality for builders and luxury home developers. We highlighted the cost savings provided by virtual reality technology such as eliminating the need to build a model home, or even a design center, to the portability and benefits of bringing the home to the buyer, rather than the buyer to the home.
In upcoming articles, will look at extending the benefits of virtual reality from the pre-sales process into the next phase of development, designing the physical space once the homeowner has purchased the home. With photorealistic 3D rendering and virtual reality technology, you can create an immersive experience that will give your buyer a vision of their finished home before ground is broken.
Virtual Reality Technology Can Accelerate the Home Design Process
It's difficult to understand exactly how a space will look based on architectural drawings, or CAD renderings. As the process progresses, you'll need to begin to offer the client actual elements in order to begin finalizing the custom design process.
The traditional process for designing a custom home is both time and labor intensive. Your client meets with the interior designer, or project manager and begins the process of going through samples of everything from flooring, to countertops, appliances, colors, cabinet styles and more. This takes your design team's time and energy. Between researching elements for price and style and presenting them to the client, it can take hours spread out over several weeks, and the worst part is that it can be difficult for a client to understand what a room full of cabinets will actually look like by looking at a door.
Virtual Reality Technology allows your clients to get “Into” a space
Using virtual reality to create an immersive experience for the consumer can impact the design process in a number of interesting ways. First, experiencing a space in an immersive context can speed up understanding, help clients to make decisions faster, and “hard-code” memories of the space creating a physical and emotion bond and experience for the viewer.
If you used a digital approach to the initial sale, your client already has the experience of walking through their home in a virtual space. You probably went through some space changes, perhaps moving an island or a wall and created the final construction draft as an architectural rendering. The next step is to enhance the experience via placement of photorealistic renderings of design elements and materials into the virtual landscape.
Virtual reality gives you the opportunity to explore the impact of various materials, even furniture and layout to contextualize the space for the client. Using "templated" elements and creating an application based experience, for example, using pre-rendered photorealistic images, you can give your client the ability to click thru three choices for kitchen flooring like black slate, hardwood, or French limestone.
Virtual Reality Technology can accelerate the decision making process when it comes to finalizing design choices.
Narrowing Design Choices and Getting to Sign Off Faster
Currently the process is labor intensive, but the payoff is accelerating the design-build process. Creating a virtual design means narrowing choices prior to rendering. While items can be shifted somewhat in real time, the results are less accurate than taking the items offline for rendering. This approach requires your client to make decisions on finishes and fixtures prior to creating their walkthrough.
Today, the technology exists tocreate changeable VR renderings as an app based experience, but there is a tradeoff. Immediacy provides a less realistic experience and can possibly confuse your client by making decisions more difficult because of the lack of realism. Eventually there will be a convergence and photorealistic design changes will be possible almost in real time. Today, pre-rendering multiple elements allows for the most accurate image. When you take into account the time needed to accurately render the qualities and character of a material like luminescence or how a material reacts with light, it affords a more accurate image and a more realistic experience.
The Benefits of Using Virtual Reality Technology as a Design Tool
First, giving your clients the ability to view their home in an immersive way, complete with their choice of finishes and fixtures can work to create an emotional bond with their home. This can result in an accelerated design process, saving time, and in the luxury development business time is money. It can also reinforce the customer service experience for a client who is paying a significant amount of money for the home they envision by making the process more inclusive. Virtual reality enhances the communication process, which can reduce or eliminate costly change orders by giving the homeowner the ability to sign off on design and materials choices before materials are even ordered.
As virtual reality technology continues to evolve and improve more and more elements of the process will be able to be pre-rendered using virtual reality. From architectural design, through interior design and aesthetic design, VR will give both the homebuyer and developer the ability to follow and modify a home through the entire lifecycle of the process.