With some 97% of home buyers using the Internet in their home search, brokerages are continually investing in new means of standing out from the competition. For top luxury real estate agents, one tool has become essential—computer-generated imagery or CGI.
From virtual staging to 3-D renderings for new developments, advancements in digital image technology are now making it possible for prospective buyers to “walk through” a home before ever stepping foot on the actual property. Here’s how some of today’s top luxury realtors are using CGI and virtual reality to change the way we see listings.
Bringing Blueprints To Life
Most agents would agree that half the battle when closing a property is getting clients to come and see the property for themselves, but with homes that have yet to be constructed, this isn’t possible. That’s why for Ryan Knowles, founder and CEO of the luxury boutique firm MAISON Bahamas, sales for projects still in development would not be possible without CGI renderings.
“It’s the most critical asset we have when selling pre-construction properties. In years past, we were limited to just static images; now, we can provide potential buyers with interactive walk-throughs that have the effect of putting them in the space as if they were really there.”
The agent added that pre-construction sales are growing increasingly common and that today’s market is seeing a “major shift in buyer behavior” with many deals taking place out of sight.
“More than ever, buyers are making multi-million dollar purchasing decisions before the first shovel has touched the ground, and CGI renderings have a lot to do with it.”
Decorating With Digital Furniture
Physical staging has been in almost every agency’s arsenal for decades now, but with the arrival of virtual furnishing, many are upgrading to this simpler and more cost-effective option, says Paul Salazar, Estates Director of Beverly Hills-based brokerage Hilton & Hyland. “For virtual staging, the technology has become so advanced that it’s extremely difficult to tell what’s real and what’s fake.”
Salazar added that digitally staging a home is not only convenient for agencies but home sellers as well.
“For clients that don’t want to move out all of their furniture and go through that tedious process, virtual staging is a quick and easy solution.”
Chris Morrison, a founding partner at RETSY out of Scottsdale, finds that digitally staging a home allows future buyers to get a better feel for the layout of an otherwise empty home. “We can place virtual furniture to show potential buyers all the benefits of the home, including room dimensions, style or even views from the window.”
The agent says that the digital tool is especially useful for marketing more established homes.
“Most buyers struggle to find vision when looking at an older home. CGI provides visual representations of what a ‘dated’ home would look like with modern-day fixtures and standards.”
Selling A Lifestyle Through Experience
For Kendra Ratcliff, of the Oregon-based boutique brokerage LUXE, rendered images provide the extra detail necessary to give buyers an emotional connection to a listing.
“Marketing a partially finished home is clumsy because the vision isn’t ready. CGI is an art to paint the full vision of an empty space, to showcase the emotion of a finished home.”
Familiarity with a space is crucial to selling a home, added the agent, and that “by adding CGI video you provide the flow between the room to become a near reality. Suddenly what used to be a picture on a screen becomes an essence and an experience. It’s in this experience where conversations begin and ideas come together.”
Fellow LUXE agent Juli Martin agrees with her colleague that digital images put potential buyers in the mindset of what their life would be like in a listed home.
“Renderings showcase the atmosphere of a home and the lifestyle of its inhabitants by spotlighting the features, the space organization and the furniture placement.”
Martin also says that 3-D renderings make imagining outside spaces simple with “the warm quality of natural light that conveys the surroundings and the landscape.”
MAISON Bahamas, Hilton & Hyland, RETSY and LUXE are exclusive members of Forbes Global Properties, a consumer marketplace and membership network of elite brokerages selling the world’s most luxurious homes.