Real Estate Marketing meets 3D Printing

how 3D printed floor plans are boosting the buying decision of turnkey customers.

We elaborate in this article for the Real Estate professional how customers of turnkey projects can enhance their spatial understanding with 3D Printing. This does support customers with a sustainable decision making. We analyse how 3D Printing and Home Staging are now and strategically important tools for the Real Estate. In parallel, we come to the conclusion that the buying decision in Real Estate is a designer act for the own life. Stay curious about what the Real Estate professional can learn from IKEA.

The problem of spatial understanding (“Pensée Solide”)

Lately we wrote how designers shall inspire engineers and how 3D printing with laser sintering is changing their life. We identified an engineer problem of getting fooled by CAD design tools, zoom effect and the size of the screens. The root cause is the lack of “Pensée Solide”, being the seldom skill to abstract volumes in your head. We looked at how designers overcome the hurdle, while acknowledging that they design for people. They operate with intense prototyping as the communication tool beyond just gestures, words and pictures — Rendering has been proven to be not enough. Therefore we have given the advise to use as communication tool 3D Prototyping as opposed to Powerpoint, where much communication is required in the engineering design process.

We tracked furthermore the history of laser sintering, being a 3D printing method, down to a wonderful result of designers and engineers collaborating together and promoting the perfect prototyping way. For 20 years this technology has always been unaffordable and associated with a slightly too long lead-time. Now that patents exclusivity expired, we see new 3D Printers that enable more suitable leadtimes and simplified prototyping offerings for the engineering design process.

The lack of spatial understanding does not stop at the office door, neither it is a professional disease for engineers or designers. We will develop today three examples how it is dealt with, outside of the pure product design arena. So estonishing as it gets, Real Estate is similarly confronted with the same problems as the engineering world.

Home Staging

The Real Estate profession is confronted with the problem when they bring customers to apartments: Life is going on there. The first thing you experience as visitor indeed is a sense of slight shame, isn’t it ? Being plunged into the private life of strangers creates, to say the least, a feeling of discomfort. Now if you can overcome this feeling, then there are too many details you need to consider as if they were not here such as the style, the furniture, the lack of tidiness. Then only afterwards you will have to project your own lifestyle into the four walls. Indeed, it is the reason why too many details, too much personality in an apartment bring many transactions to failure at first sight.

The Real Estate sector invented the so called Home Staging as a solution for that barrier. The Home Stager, a specialised interior designer, is removing the seller personal touch and adding obvious features such as brightness to enlarge the appeal to the most probable audience. It is shifting the object from the seller centric fully defined past to a buyer centric open home, you can easily project your future life upon. Home Staging is relatively new to Germany. Here a recent interesting article for German readers.

IKEA and the buying decision as a designer act

Experience shows as well that too few details are also not good either. As a simple thought exercise, I often ask my interlocutors how appealing they find buying furniture in a home improvement store. Basically no appeal is the most common answer. And if you do buy there, your focus is more on the DIY aspect of making the furniture than playing interior architecture or enjoying the shopping. The answer is much different when you ask yourself, how appealing on the contrary it is to shop at IKEA. There, you feel more like an interior architect making decisions. Now as a matter of fact, the final purchase at IKEA occurs in an area that can be uglier than most home improvement stores. At the end of the day, you will be doing the same, i.e. buying a flat crate and building yourself a furniture. So how does the IKEA trick work ?

The longest time spent at IKEA is not in the unappealing storage area. You are constrained to walk upstairs the IKEA universe entirely and take notes, where all furnitures have been staged before you are allowed to fill your cart. Doing so, your brain is going iteratively and constantly back and forth between your life and what could it be in the IKEA universe. It is a prototyping phase. Most of the time, you walk the path with your family and the common experience offers the opportunity to communicate. So the shopping of a crate from a storage shelf has been transformed at IKEA into a design process of your life. It is the greatest help of the spatial understanding as well as the best use of it as a selling tool I have ever encountered.

Investment in Real Estate with Home Staging and 3D Floor Plans

I have the pleasure to live in Berlin, the growing capital of Germany. The flow of roughly 50 000 new-Berliner per year is fueling a very lively Real Estate market here. Many of the transactions are for brand new apartments. The trick there is that they are being marketed as the construction work starts and progresses. Those kind of turnkey projects are being heavily regulated by law. It enables a new building Real Estate market with staged milestone payments to flourish.

As a customer, you actually enter a life changing transaction upon limited information. What you see first of your apartment prior your signature is solely a muddy construction area, a lot of marketing and contractual paperwork and at best a staged showroom.

At FREEFORMA Additive Manufacturing, we are dedicating our passion to help the spatial understanding. We design, home stage and produce 3D printed individual 3D Floor arrangements especially for the turnkey Real Estate. With currently a capacity of several thousand 3D Floor plans per year, we are the market leader for the turnkey Real Estate. Buying a home is more than just buying. It is a designer act of your life. As a Home Stager and Real Estate Professional, you can help now with FREEFORMA your turnkey customers.

With Home Staging 3D Floor Plans, you, as customer, can hold your future home first in your hand before it exists. This is the prototyping phase. You will not get fooled by lack of proportion and zoom effect. It is much easier for the brain to project in a doll house than in a rendering. You have like at IKEA the opportunity to communicate around the design. Furthermore, we provide a simple to use digital mock-up — the virtual reality model if you wish — on a USB stick.

With this, you, as customer can enhance the prototyping experience with relatives while making the interior design on your computer.

Laurent Altenburger