It’s 2020, so surely we should be living in a space-age by now? Well, while it’s not quite the Jetsons, today’s homebuying journey has certainly entered a new age. Real estate professionals are taking notice and innovating that experience by transporting or teleporting their clients to within the walls of a home and giving them a real, transparent feeling of what it might be like to live there.
Consider for instance, while clever 2D photography may make rooms appear larger than they actually are, 3D walkthroughs are designed to show people what it’s truly like in the home – the dimensions of the rooms, any angle of any view the home might have, and how the space flows.
This experience, as found in the Matterport 3D digital twin, is not designed to make the home look better. It’s meant to give the best, most accurate representation of what a space is like as if you saw it for yourself. It’s client comfort in delivering detail, including accurate measurements of anything within the digital twin, giving the on-demand option to revisit aspects that matter most to the homebuyer.
Keller Williams coach and agent, Bill Lawton, who has not lost a listing presentation since starting to offer Matterport walkthroughs on his homes, describes it as “a 24-hour open house for homebuyers.”
“They are already putting themselves inside the house,” he said.
The growing business of buying sight unseen
As more Americans relocate for work, they find they do not have the time or opportunity to personally see numerous homes before they buy. And with the technology available, they’re realizing they might not have to. For Dallas Fort Worth Keller Williams agent Jay Acker and his company, Real Estate by Design, Matterport walkthroughs have led to his team’s sight unseen transactions doubling over the past three years.
“We were, on average, selling six sight unseen listings per year…now, in the three and a half years of having Matterport, we are trending to 12 to 16. These are homes people have never set their eyes on,” he says.
With the ability to have an accurate viewing of the home from anywhere, there aren’t any surprises when they see the place in-person. People buying sight unseen vary from young professionals moving to an apartment in a new city, to ‘snowbirds’ moving south to follow the sun.
Working with community connections to complete the homebuyer’s whole picture
Savvy agents help their clients envisage more than their future home. They create a vivid picture of not only the place where their family will live but also the community in which they’ll build their lives. Agents find opportunity in providing digital twins of local schools and community hubs to give remote and busy homebuyers a better flavor of local amenities.
Connections with local businesses are a great way to raise awareness and highlight popular neighborhood stores and venues, with the potential of collective marketing activities for mutual benefit. It’s all part of an agent’s need to establish themselves as a valued resource of information.
Digital twin courtesy of Charles Nitschke, Sotheby’s Tomlinson Group
Improving the sellers’ results
For sellers, the home sale process is streamlined when Matterport is used, according to Acker.
Since using Matterport, the days on market have gone down from 30 days to 21 days for the Real Estate by Design clients and the average sales price to list price from around 93 percent to 97 percent.
With digital twin technology, Acker and his team are able to track various metrics including how many views a tour has had, and when it’s been shared with others.
Meanwhile, being able to share the Matterport walkthrough on social media has been a game-changer for sellers, according to team Valarie Andrews, director of operations at the Robison Realty Group in Montana and Jana Robison, in Bentonville, Arkansas.
It’s no secret; social media is increasingly an integral part of today’s typical home search. To draw engagement, agents use visuals such as ‘Mattershorts,’ short videos or GIFs automatically generated with the digital twin, that give a quick glance of the inside and outside of a home.
Family first: facilitating a better customer experience
The home buying and selling experience can be an emotional one. Family and friends can play a valuable role in this experience, providing input and support, and the ability to revisit a family home after the process is complete can provide a value for years to come. Jana Robison knows this first-hand and has come up with an idea she used herself which is likely to catch on.
Sentimental about selling her parents’ family home, something she understandably dragged her feet on, Robison took a Matterport digital twin of the home before handing it over to stagers, still with all the family knickknacks and pictures in place. She and anyone she cares to share with can now revisit any time they like.
It represents just one step in today’s evolving home search journey and somewhere real estate professionals can use innovation for differentiation.