A major part of the customer purchase decision in real estate property is driven by site visits. With the COVID 19 scenario and the restrictions imposed by persistent lockdowns, etc since March 2020 in India the real estate industry has witnessed a delay in purchase decision of the customers. This impacted the sales in the Q1 and Q2 of FY 2020-21, but the sector has shown a strong comeback in the Q3 and Q4 when the restrictions were slightly eased. However, the second wave and the fresh set of restrictions coupled with regional lock downs is expected to slow down the sale of this sector once again.
Even though there are a lot of prospective customers in the market, majority of them have stalled their purchase for the time being. This was substantiated in a survey conducted by Housing.com in collaboration with NARECCO in May 2021. 53% respondents said they have put their plans to buy a property on hold for approximately 6 months. Nearly 33% respondents in the survey also said they would have to upgrade their homes, to work from home. In a renters’ survey, 47% respondents said they would like to invest in property if it was rightly priced. To know more https://housing.com/news/impact-of-coronavirus-on-indian-real-estate/
With the key driving influence (site visits) of real estate sales being almost wiped-out during lockdowns, the sector has seen a major shift to digitisation embracing the Virtual reality (VR) technology aided by 360-degree tours, drone shoots, video calls, and online booking platforms to facilitate the sale. The virtual tours have empowered the developers to showcase the projects effectively. A customer can envisage the necessary details of the project from the comfort of their home at their own convenience.
How are these Virtual tours of Real Estate designed?
These are guided 360 degree tours which enables the customer to visit the property virtually and get a look and feel of the property. Apart from giving a better idea about the project and the units, a good virtual tour helps the customer to develop a better understanding of approach route to the project, the neighbourhood at the same time. It is comparatively easy to develop these tours for ready projects where it is possible to capture actual images and panoramic view of the project. In case of under construction properties, it is created by superimposing images of finished product to give a better idea of the look and feel of the project.
How is virtual reality transforming the purchase journey of the real estate market?
- Saves time: Before purchasing a property, any customer would research in more than one property. Though most of the research happens online but clients prefer to visit the shortlisted property before making their purchase decision. This comes at an expense of time and money. Virtual reality would help reduce this time to a significant amount. VR saves the travel time of the customers by providing an immersive experience of the property from the comfort of their homes Moreover, this means that the properties are open to visit 24×7 hence the customers can visit then property at their comfort.
- Closer inspection: Since a person can experience the project at their own time the client has more time to go through the project and investigate the details minutely. This tour can engage the customer lot more as compared to a site visit where due to lack of time the customer might have to leave the site in hurry without being able to inspect most part of it.
- Offers a global reach: Using VR a customer can check out properties from any part of the world. This promises wider reach and more leads for the developers.
- Helps to reduce the cost: With the VR reforming the real estate industry setting up of actual show unit for site visit will slowly take the back foot the 3D walkthrough of the unit plans will give the similar immersive experience from the comfort of home. Also, the show flats could be developed for only certain units only while for virtual tours a customer can experience show unit of any unit for their choice. They need not see a show flat of 3BHK while they would like to purchase a 2BHK.
What are developers saying about virtual tours?
“Video walkthroughs have been gaining steam in India for the past 2-3 months. One could shortlist on call, but finalizing on call is a big leap here. While the concept is being practised in most developed countries, in India it was still at a nascent stage,” said Akhil Gupta, co-founder and chief technology officer, NoBroker.com, a tech-enabled real estate platform.
“Over the last 30 days, we have conducted more than 6,300 interactions with potential customers across Mumbai, both residential, as well as commercial real estate, in the affordable, aspirational and luxury categories across seven developer brands,” said Ghosh. Samujjwal Ghosh, director, brand and marketing, Xanadu Realty.
“We have been able to get more than 130 deals since we launched our tech-enabled digital platform in mid May,” Singh added. Pankaj Singh, chief executive and founder, MultiLiving Technologies.
Seeing the positive response from the customers, the sector is expecting a major shift to technology with the online tools being the game changer in the purchase decision in the coming future. While site visits will still continue to play a major role, but customers will look forward to these tools to research on the properties and shortlist their preferred options. Site visits are likely to get reduced, while customers will be visiting the shortlisted properties prior to purchase only. It is expected that most of the property hunting and shortlisting will happen online with the new interactive tools.