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Virtual reality gives oxygen to real estate companies despite their activity falling due to the covid crisis

Updated: Apr 26

Virtual visits, some in video game format, are bearing fruit: homes with gardens and penthouses are the most consulted in the midst of confinement due to Covid-19.

In Spain, the coronavirus has stopped more than 4,800 works and there are 131,000 homes affected, but the sector is confident of a similar recovery, in which the price of new construction does not suffer. The activity of real estate developers has fallen by 60%, but Many are trying to adapt to a confinement that has turned homes with gardens into the most desired product by Spaniards and in which virtual visits, some in video game format, are bearing fruit.

"There has been a huge spike in Google searches for 'buy a house' versus 'buy an apartment'. People are looking for houses that have a large terrace or garden, or ground floor apartments with a garden," explains the director of Innovation and Brands at Neinor. , Javier Sánchez.

At Neinor, one of the largest housing developers in Spain, these days they continue to convert deposit contracts into purchase and sale contracts and sign them electronically, although with the tightening last week of the state of alarm they have had to stop 73 developments under construction that There are about 5,000 homes.

Video conferencing from the car

They know that buyers will take their time, waiting to see how the pandemic evolves, "but the need is still there," underlines the Marketing Director of Aedas Homes, Silvia Álvarez, who believes that the situation of forced teleworking in the that many families are also generating new needs.

Even some of their colleagues cannot find a quiet place in their homes to hold a video conference: "Some end up doing it from their daughter's room or there are even those who have had to go down to the car to do it."

In his opinion, this may mean that many people consider changing their home that, perhaps, they had not considered until now. "Penthouses and homes with gardens are becoming super desirable products," he adds.

The Fortnite engine

To attract these clients, promoters and marketers have increased their activity on social networks and digital platforms.

This is the case of the Live platform, which Aedas launched a year ago, with which it has already sold properties worth 5 million euros and which allows direct contact with clients, in which the commercial advisor is on a virtual set. walking inside a house, as if it were a video game.

"We do it with the 'unreal' engine of well-known video games like Fornite," says Javier Sánchez, who assures that "it generates extraordinary confidence, because as soon as the brain sees a person in a space it gets a much better idea of the volumes".

After the announcement of the state of alarm, Neinor canceled in-person visits and replaced them with virtual tours that allow you to "visit" the show apartment, choose materials and explore every corner. In ten days he has made more than 400.

Gilmar, another of the large companies in the sector that mediates buying, selling and renting, is also using these days virtual tours that allow salespeople to tell the client what they are seeing from their home screen via Skipe, Facetime or Whatsapp. , and also uses augmented reality scanning with the mobile phone in the photos of the corporate magazine that it sends to its clients.

Present the home as a 'doll's house'

Their star tool is, however, the one that, with Matterport technology, has allowed them, since 2016, to present the home as a "dollhouse" and walk through it in real size with the option of virtual reality glasses.

From Gilmar Consulting Inmobiliaria, its Communication Director, Javier Castellano, observes that the type of client changes from one city to another, and that there are also differences between new construction, where operations continue to be closed, and used housing, "where little can be do, rather than narrowing down the ones that clients are most interested in so they can see them when this is over.

"As soon as we can go out, first the beers and then look at houses," he jokes.

In new construction, Neinor has begun to offer the possibility of formalizing a reservation online from 500 euros and, once the state of alarm ends, the client will have ten days to confirm it, which according to the company is giving very good results.

The China Trailer

The large developers also point out that there are no cancellations (less than 0.1%), although there are requests for flexibility and extensions of the deposit periods.

The three spokespersons, who a few days ago participated in the SIMAPRO Home Edition, do not contemplate price reductions at the moment, especially looking at the "advance movie" of the coronavirus in China, where sixty days after the crisis demand has recovered from same levels as 2018 and 2019, even a little above.

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