How To Attract International Home Buyers With Virtual Reality
In some of our past blog postings we've talked about the benefits of virtual reality for developers, like the cost savings of not needing a home design center, or investing in a model home. There is also the time to market factor, reducing the sales cycle down to weeks from potentially months. While these are powerful reasons to implement a virtual sales strategy, another amazing benefit has to do with market reach.
Traditionally, the sales process was somewhat limited by location. A home is a physical entity. Because of this it becomes necessary to market in a way that brings potential buyers to the home's physical location. Of course, you can create traditional marketing materials like brochures, or architectural drawings that can be sent to potential buyers, increasing market reach, but a brochure is not an emotional or immersive experience like a physical tour.
The international market for luxury home sales is growing. Shifts in the global economy are presenting prime property buyers in some countries with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to purchase luxury property in the US. As a result of currency fluctuations, international buyers are increasingly seeking buying opportunities outside their resident country.
This segment can be a lucrative area for developers to explore. One of the major benefits of creating a virtual marking strategy is the ability to bring your property directly to potential buyers, no matter where they are located in the world.
Delivering an Immersive Experience with Virtual Reality
The real strength in virtual reality marketing for luxury real estate lies in the ability to offer the virtual experience through multiple delivery systems. From experiencing a property in true immersive virtual reality using a VR headset like the Occulus Rift, to viewing a virtual walkthrough on their smartphone or tablet, VR allows developers the ability to bring the home to the buyer rather than bringing the buyer to the home (which may not even physically exist!).
Photorealistic renderings mean that developers can design a property, build it virtually, deliver the VR tour to a buyer and sign a sales agreement before even breaking ground. This is a cost effective marketing method for both the developer and the buyer. The developer can close the sale without incurring the upfront expense of building the home. For the buyer, especially an international buyer, travel to the building site is unnecessary until much later in the process.
Experiencing Virtual Reality Tours - VR Delivery Systems:
VR Headset – As more consumer level headsets become available, developers will be able to create a virtual tour and deliver it either online to a viewer in another country, or in the form of a DVD which can be loaded and viewed in the comfort of the viewers home, even if it's on another continent! The release of the Occulus Rift and HTC's Vive Pre have made true immersive virtual reality available to consumers, worldwide.
Samsung Gear VR – This is a portable headset that works with the Galaxy smartphone. This low-cost headset system acts as a dock for the smartphone. Using included software, users can experience a 3D immersive experience directly through their phone.
Google Cardboard – Similar to the Samsung Gear VR, the Google cardboard works as a dock for iOS and Android smartphones allowing users to place their phone on the cardboard “goggles” and using their phone view a 3D photorealistic tour of a multimillion dollar residence including realistic details like the FrenchLimestone floors, rough iron chandelier, view from the master bedroom balcony, and the outdoor infinity pool.
Website – Using 2D or 3D 360 renderings, clients can type in a website address and take a tour. While not immersive, like a headset experience, a dedicated website can deliver a photorealistic walk through of a property that will give users an excellent experience of the property.
Cell Phones – Along with the immersive experience of using a cellphone with a Google cardboard or Samsung Gear VR, virtual tours can be delivered via cellphone using responsive design techniques. For example, by making your website responsive, users can visit the URL and the experience can be delivered on a mobile device like a cellphone or tablet.
Direct-mail – As the cost of production for DVDs declines, virtual reality tours can even be delivered through direct mail cost effectively. A mail piece can be designed to include a brochure and DVD. This can then be sent via direct mail to a pre-qualified list of potential buyers, worldwide.
As the technology continues to mature, additional delivery systems will develop. For luxury property developers, early adopters will reap the benefits of this sales tool. Virtual reality is changing how luxury property is being developed and marketed. For developers, VR has accelerated the time to market, reduced the costs involved with both building and marketing a property, and expanded market reach.
Today it's possible to bring your home directly to the buyer using virtual reality. If you'd like to learn more, give us a call. At Village Features, we're changing the way a luxury property gets sold. Let us show you how you can use VR to market your next project directly to international buyers.