Confused! after reading the title? Did you just think I spelled it wrong? Well, let me tell you that I meant to write exactly the same heading. Many of us who would have read this first would have thought differently. And for those who think I am gonna be writing about the “Realities in Real Estate” will be pleasantly surprised too. So let dig in.
Reality as the name suggests is defined as “the state of things as they actually exist”, whereas Realty is connected with some kind of a property in the form of land or buildings. Now is there a relation between these two words? Maybe not until now, but then this Covid-19 pandemic did make us adapt and change the way we relate to things, didn’t it? By the end of this article I will try and create a connect between the two words and explain how they can co-exist and work for the betterment of both the client and the Realty sector.
Now we all know that the realty sector banks on client purchases or investments from across the globe. You can take an example of any sector in the world and all of them have this basic principle of a buyer & seller. With the world becoming smaller and the accessibility easier so has the reach to these buyers by the sellers. Even the projects in the realty sector are now designed or planned keeping global clients in mind. But is it that easy to sell?
What are the biggest challenges that our developers face today with domestic or international clients which, mind you, will only increase due to the aftermath of Covid-19 and continued social distancing norms? In my experience of business development globally, the first thing is finding that interested client which I believe is still the easy part and can be achieved by a focussed marketing campaign. The tough part is to convince him/her to buy the property. I am sure we all know the process to follow for converting a lead to sale but what is the biggest hindrance that we face today when we have a convinced client with us and especially when the property in discussion is not in the same city or country? For me it’s mostly been Site Visits.
Most of the clients internationally or who live in a different city even in domestic markets, ask for a site visit to the project before they make the final decision. I am not saying that these are 100% of the clients. No; but this is definitely a larger chunk of these clients especially in the explained circumstances. What this majorly does is delays the purchase and at the same time gives time to the buyer to move around.
So, we all do put in every effort to convince the client for buying; but many of us get stuck on the site visit aspect. Making the client to visit the site in a different city/country, does take with a lot of push/follow up and many a times the sale is lost in this time lag. I am a personal witness to a lot of sales being lost in such cases. Is there no-way that we can reduce this percentage of clients who want site visits as we cannot eliminate this by 100%. Till very recently, even I accepted the fate and thought there is no-way possible to reduce this and to just live on with it as a part and parcel of the process.
But then recently sometime earlier this march, I met a young mind along-with someone I have known over two decades now and my belief changed. We are in an era which is technologically driven and the one big thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us is to move our businesses more online and technologically oriented. With the social distancing being the new normal, we already have started to move towards new technologies to help us stay connected. That is simply the reason why we all see a series of webinars happening around us and trust me its good as I say this with experience.
So why not then use technology for site visits also? You might think, what’s new in that as many developers have taken it online already with live videos of their projects. They are impactful but still seeing personally is a better belief and there is a difference for sure. So how do we curb this gap? We can do this by using Virtual & Augmented Reality to make things work for us better. Lets understand this:
Virtual Reality – Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can be made similar to the real world. So far its been used for entertainment such as video games, watching movies, medical or military trainings.
Augmented Reality – Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. AR can be defined as a system that fulfills three basic features: a combination of real and virtual worlds, real-time interaction, and accurate 3D registration of virtual and real objects.
Now imagine if we can connect the two VR/AR with Realty by creating a platform with the use of a virtual reality headset wherein the walkthrough’s of the projects become as good as live for the client. He can actually see the real view & feel of the apartments, while he is in one of them, virtually from anywhere in the world like moving around the house and many other things that he would have done if he was on a live site visit.
The AR/VR can have actual views of the projects/sites/apartments for an even more immersive and realistic experience and the user can experience views that surround the property in the real world. Just imagine standing in the middle of that astonishing golf course, the project has and to be able to see the complete surrounding virtually as good as live and realistic or stand right in the living room of your prospective apartment and see the views outside without moving an inch from wherever in the world you are. A lot can be done as this is technologically oriented and the scope is limitless. Anything and almost everything can be designed to fit the requirements.
This, I think will not only help these clients choose faster but also the developers & their sales teams who will see faster closures. At the same time its cost effective for both the client and the developer as the time lag and cost both be avoided from both the ends.
During that casual meeting as I mentioned before while discussion with shardul & chetan; shardul spoke about his firm which specializes in this aspect. At that time I was not very convinced with the idea, thinking what was the need and why would it work; although even then I had a gut feel that this could definitely reduce the site visit related closure issues. But then the Covid-19 happened to all of us and as I said, the complete perspective and the way we look at things changed.
This is the New Normal and this New Normal demands a different approach to it all. This idea makes a whole lot more sense to me now than it ever did. I personally have a strong gut feel to this idea and it can certainly drive business up. Although this would be a new technology for realty and how would it ultimately work out is yet be seen but the initial vibes look positive with what I have discussed with some of the realtors and clients based internationally.
Will it increase the closure ratio?; will it help clients choose faster?; will it actually work?, only time can tell but the idea sure does looks promising and hence deserves a good hear. So for that I would definitely look at discussing this strongly now and see if this could become a possibility for the future.
Even according to Forbes; this idea and application is becoming more popular among consumers and businesses and is tailor-made for real estate. Forward-thinking realtors are already moving beyond photos and even 360-degree videos; and offering clients 3D virtual property “tours” right from wherever they are.
This is “The New Realty” and so my subject; “Reality in Realty”. This is the New Normal….