The macro trends driving a 3D floor plan revolution

Archilogic helps office providers promote and sell office space through 3D floor plans, office design simulations and property data insights. Here we explore the macro real estate trends that are driving the need for 3D floor plans in office real estate sales .

Real estate isn’t generally the quickest industry to adapt to technological changes. In a people business (and one with high pressure), there’s an understandable desire to spend precious time on building relationships, not experimenting with tools. But technology that was seen as experimental just a few years ago is quickly becoming mainstream – even essential. And no firm can afford to get left behind.

Remember when advertising a property meant collecting a few photos and writing some persuasive copy? Now, online listings commonly include 360˚ photos and virtual tours. Videos and drone footage are on the rise. 3D floor plans, such as those from Archilogic, are the next step; they provide an immersive experience and even the chance to try out different furniture layouts. It’s a compelling sales tool, winnowing out prospects who need something different, and building desire in the rest.

You may think this is just a “nice to have”, but this goes beyond immediate needs. Taking a look at macro social trends makes it clear that if buyers don’t already expect this level of virtual presentation, they soon will.

Millennials are making the decisions

“Millennials” are often thought of as students or recent graduates – but the oldest of them are about to turn 40. They’re not just buying their own homes ( 36% of US buyers in 2018 were under 37), they’re advancing in their careers and making real estate decisions at work.
Remember this generation is also known as the “digital natives”. They’ve grown up in an online world; they expect to get most of the information they need to make a decision without even talking to a person. Okay, so in the case of property, that decision might just be whether to book a viewing. But if they can’t find enough detail online to interest them, they may just look elsewhere – and that’s a lost sale.
There’s another interesting demographic detail. In recent years, real estate is increasingly being bought by singles: a full quarter of US home buyers. Why is that relevant? They’re short of time. Arranging viewings is a time-intensive process – being unable to delegate to a partner leaves house hunters even more in need of immersive online presentations (be they video, 3D floor plans or virtual tours) to find the most suitable properties.

The world is more connected

Of course, when it comes to reaching buyers outside the local market, virtual experiences become even more important. And those buyers are a vital source of demand. Investment in foreign properties is growing around the world, with ever more interest in US and UK property coming from Chinese buyers in particular. The effect is not minor; the US National Association of Realtors put the foreign share of existing home purchases in 2017 at 10%. And for some segments it is even higher – back in 2013 Asian investors already made up almost half of all buyers of new-build property in central London. In fact, only 27% of those properties went to UK buyers.
Clearly, foreign investors will need a way to learn about their prospective purchase long before booking a viewing. For new-builds in particular, high-quality 3D models are an unbeatable tool to convince these targets of the property’s benefits. It’s only a matter of time before they become standard, but for now, early adopters have an advantage.

Buyers are ready – sellers need to catch up

“Digital transformation” is the buzzword in every industry. We’re all looking into our crystal balls to guess where technological change is taking us. But that transformation is already advanced enough that we can see the benefits.
In property, the rapid pace of online marketing’s evolution has left many realtors behind. Most still don’t have a blog or even their own website – although the NAR reports that buyers are overwhelmingly using online sources to find a home, and 73% are doing so using mobile devices. Around half of buyers who used the internet (across all generations) found virtual tours “very useful” – an impressive proportion, given that not all home listings actually include such tours. With buyer adoption of new tech platforms outpacing that of sellers to such a degree, those realtors and developers that do take the plunge stand to reap outsized rewards.

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