3D Design Bureau

How to Market Pre-Built Properties using Off-Plans 360 Virtual Tours

In the new hybrid working, post-pandemic world we are all now accustomed to, the way in which buyers make purchasing decisions has changed. None more so than the property industry. Covid 19 accelerated the digital transformation and the viewing of new homes and apartments, yet to be built, has transformed forever.

3D virtual tours have become a new way to showcase proposed new developments. Real estate agents and property developers can now allow people to explore homes, apartments, offices or commercial premises from the comfort and safety of their homes.

Typically, the terminology ‘3D virtual tour’ is used to describe the capturing of existing properties that are on the market through Matterport technology. However, what about new properties that are under construction or half-finished?

As target audiences now expect to gather as much information online, it is paramount to communicate and visualise a new scheme while the plans are still on paper. To assist this, property developers, interior designers, and real estate agents are using tech-driven 3D marketing solutions such as off-plans 360 virtual tours to attract new prospects.

Off-plan 360 virtual tours allow users to move through the future planned space from point to point of internal and external areas. These 360 tours give users a fully immersive experience, designed to a photo-realistic standard. They are visualised to the highest standard so potential buyers know exactly what to expect.

In an industry where time is money, it has become imperative to generate as many pre-sales as possible which is especially important where there may be delays in construction and launch dates.

What is an Off-Plans 360 Virtual Tour?

An off-plans 360 virtual tour is a rendered virtual environment that combines a series of exterior and interior 360-degree CGIs within a custom-built app that is compatible on desktop, mobile, tablet, and in VR.

The virtual spaces are produced to a photorealistic standard with full ‘virtual staging’ based on interior design layouts. This allows developers and their real estate agents to bring a ‘virtual’ show house, apartment, office, or retail space to market well ahead of actual construction.

UX of the off plans 360 virtual tour app include:

  • Integrated floor plans
  • Information hotspots
  • Integrated in-tour sharing on social media platforms and email
  • VR capability
  • Thumbnail gallery
  • Auto rotation of each location

Process of Creating an Off-Plans 360 Virtual Tour

Digital 3D Model Creation: A detailed digital 3D model of the property is created, both exterior and interior. This is carried out using various 3D software packages. 3D Design Bureau creates all-digital models using Autodesk Revit.

Virtual Staging: Once the digital 3D model has been created, it enters the virtual staging process. Interior design mood boards along with precedent photos are used to populate the digital model with 3D assets such as furniture, fixtures, and fittings.

Structural Draft Previews: This stage involves the setting out of the various camera locations within the digital model. ‘Clay render’ previews are rendered of the various spaces in the model to ensure the virtual staging is as per the interior designer’s mindset.

Visualisation: Once all structural draft previews are signed off, full lighting and texturing take place. This is carried out in 3ds Max using vRay rendering engine. However, there is various visualisation software available. The visualisation stage involves the setting up photorealistic lighting along with the texturing of all finishes to the space (walls, floors, ceilings, etc) and its assets. Further material draft previews are then issued for review.

High-Resolution Rendering: Upon approval of the material drafts, a full set of 360-degree high-resolution images are rendered and post-production is carried out on them. These 360 degree CGIs are the core of the off-plans 360 virtual tour app.

The App Build: The final 360 degree CGIs are put together in the app and UX elements are added to produce the tour. The tour is hosted online on any website. It can be viewed on a desktop, tablet, mobile, and in VR.

Different uses for off-plans 360 virtual tours

Off-plans 360 virtual tours are used across the different sectors of the property industry. They are typically created for property developers, real estate agents and interior designers to present their projects to potential tenants and buyers.

These 360 tours are used to presell and market yet-to-be-built properties/spaces such as apartment developments, housing schemes, student accommodation, office developments, and retail spaces. Through this photo-realistic and interactive technology, developers and their agents can continue to promote their schemes and not have to wait until show units are completed. This approach is hugely advantageous, particularly in the current global crisis.

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