Virtual apartment: how to buy reality instead of a concrete box

Published on April 11, 2018

Virtual apartment: how to buy reality instead of a concrete box

    When buying an apartment during the construction phase, people have to focus on the layout, often printed on a black-and-white printer, or on a beautiful color booklet, giving about as much information. When the house is already built, buyers have the opportunity to live to look at their future housing - or rather, on the concrete box, which always seems less than it will be after the repair.

    For real estate developers and sellers, it is important to show exactly how it will live in order not to fight unjustified expectations. And here comes to the rescue 3D-visualization of the house, along with furniture and virtual reality glasses, which allow you to carefully look at the future house. Alexei Yozhikov,

    Business Solutions Director for Planoplan, told how VR helps customers not to take a “cat in a bag”.



    The main financial goal of 25% of Russians is to buy an apartment. One of the scenarios is as follows: first, the family saves a long time on the initial payment on the mortgage, and then pays the remaining amount for 20-30 years. For Krasnogorsk near Moscow, a down payment of 15% will be about 750,000 rubles for a one-room apartment and about 1,125,000 for a two-room apartment, while the monthly payment at a rate of 12% will be 37,000 and 56,000, respectively.

    Most often they buy apartments on the primary market , in three cases out of four - before putting the house into operation. About half of such housing - small, this studio and odnushki.

    With an average salary in the Moscow region of about 46,410 rubles in January 2018, mortgage payments become the main sources of family spending. And they still need to add repair - this is 20-50% of the price of housing. For many, this is the largest purchase in life, and it is done blindly, people buy a “cat in a bag”, not knowing how high the ceiling is, whether these 42 or 60 square meters will be spacious and how they will look after repair.

    Planoplan has been working in the B2B segment since its inception, offering developers 3D and VR layouts, which they use to show face with the help of the Lenovo Explorer virtual reality helmet. “We are in favor of the fact that an ordinary Russian is worthy to see the housing in which he will move in. Not with the purchase of luxury housing, but with the purchase of an ordinary studio apartment on the outskirts of the city. And we help to visualize just such housing, ”says Alexei Yozhikov, the company's position.



    What Planoplan does


    Service Planoplan appeared in 2012 as a subsidiary of the real estate agency “Kelnik”, offering various services for promotion to developers. Service began to be used as a tool to help sell apartments. Planoplan was designed to create layouts and interior design of apartments, as well as any other premises - warehouses, retail space. Alexey Yozhikov, Planoplan: “We started using a solution for visualizing apartments. When you want to sell an apartment to a client, especially at the construction stage, you want to show what he is waiting for. He should buy not just square meters and a plan, a person should know what his housing space will be. ”

    Planoplan has been monetizing services in B2B since 2012, but it also works in B2C: out of 410,000 unique registered users, about 40,000 are active at least once a month. Among them are people who are doing or are preparing to make repairs at home, they can visualize the results of repairs of one room with the help of a service. Interior designers who want to save on 3D Max also use the service. ”

    “And all the same time we tried to carry the light to the developers and explained why they should do a 3D layout,” adds Alexei Yozhikov. The main task of visualization in VR is to show the product, to answer the questions of potential consumers. This may be housing, furniture or household appliances. The virtual reality helps the buyer to see how a particular kitchen set will look like in his apartment, whether a certain tile and accessories, household appliances will suit him. This is necessary to reduce the likelihood of incorrect expectations from a future result.

    It is with the apartments that the question of various concerns, doubts and expectations is particularly acute. At the construction stage, the maximum that the seller can show is the plan of the apartment on the plane and the apartment itself in the form of a concrete box - in the best case it will be exactly the living space into which the buyer will have to enter a few years later, and at worst - just an apartment with a similar planning in another house on another floor. Pitfalls can open later, when after a move a person finds that he has a very large kitchen - due to the storage room, which for some reason is not there, and that the wall between the toilet and the bathroom cannot be removed because of the ventilation duct, and the apartment was shown in another house type

    But it is important to remember that 3D and VR content is a communication tool, not a conversion tool. In isolation from the work of managers, he can not raise sales. There is no exact answer in figures about how it increases sales to developers in Russia. Alexei Yozhikov notes that this is a problem of Russian developers: they do not know how to pilot projects and measure the result. In March 2018, at the International Summit on Real Estate Technologies , organized by Ernst & Young, Alexei Yozhikov delivered a reporton this issue: he said that developers need to use CRM, which will show which buyers used a virtual reality helmet when choosing an apartment, who did not, and how much efficiency differs in both cases. It is important that the results should be calculated in the sale of apartments for specific objects, and that the developer must be large enough to minimize the statistical error.

    “We searched all year for ways of this situation. We conducted testing on one of the developer sites. It was shown that the conversion to a call increased by 10%. But it is rather a side effect. ”


    The results of adding the function “Virtual tour” to the site of the residential complex “Vienna quarter”

    Representatives of developers talk about the effectiveness of using VR during exhibitions, when in 2-3 days a large number of people pass through the stands, making first contact with the company using a virtual reality helmet. “In such conditions, VR- and 3D-glasses allow to process quite a large number of clients in one unit of time,” says Alexey Filippov, St. Petersburg Renovation.



    Another confirmation of the positive impact of such a demonstration on clients is the results of a survey of the Association of Virtual and Augmented Reality VRARA: more than 40% of apartment buyers confirmed that panoramic tours play an important role in the decision to purchase. Interestingly, the audience at the age of 30-39 more often appreciates 3D and VR tools for comparing apartments than buyers aged 20-29 - 61.9% versus 57.1% and as a tool for making buying decisions faster.



    Thanks to the 3D visualization and the virtual reality helmet Lenovo Explorer, the developer gets a competitive advantage: the ability to show a real apartment. He can answer the questions “50 meters is how much and what will fit there?” Not on fingers or a booklet, but with the help of a real tour in virtual reality. Even the height of the ceiling, the buyer can estimate in advance.

    The service forms an ecosystem on which it plans to unite developers, manufacturers of kitchens and other furniture, suppliers of refrigerators, stoves and other household appliances, interior designers, manufacturers of finishing materials together with end-users of housing. The goal is to make sure that the buyer of any of these categories could see in the virtual reality helmet not just a layout with an example of furniture from standard IKEA furniture, but the results of repairing a room with concrete wallpaper and a stretch ceiling, concrete furniture and appliances.



    For demonstrations, Planoplan chose Lenovo Explorer's virtual reality headset. Among the advantages of the company notes the rapid response and high image quality. The lack of external sensors has reduced the installation time of equipment at field demonstrations three times. The helmet is convenient for putting on, as well as for hygienic cleaning - and this is very important when a large flow of people, be it a developer’s office or an exhibition, uses the helmet. Moreover, in order to organize a demonstration stand in the case of this software, it is not necessary to have a very powerful computer with an expensive video card. Testing has shown that even a ThinkPad P51 notebook with a Quadro M1200 card will do well.