Whether viewing a property online or looking at the particulars in printed format, one of the first things that most homemovers look for is whether there is a floor plan, as this will help decide if the
property may be the right one for them.
Presenting your properties with a floor plan not only enables the prospective buyer or tenant to envisage themselves living in the home, but it also gives them an idea of what the property actually has to offer, including the dimensions and layout of the rooms.
“Floor plans generate 30 per cent more interest than properties without one,” said Rightmove’s Commercial Director Miles Shipside. “It’s all about people imagining themselves living there, and deciding whether they can fit their furniture in.”
2D floor plans
A glance at a sample of the property listings on Rightmove shows that most agents are opting for standard 2D floor plans accompanied by a selection of high quality images, something which does not surprise Ray Dowling, Director of Dowling Jones Design.
To generate interest it is crucial to have an illustrative floor plan to help applicants fully visualise the property.” Ray Dowling Dowling Jones Design
Dowling believes that all agents should attempt to “whet consumers’ appetites” for a property by offering a quality set of photographs, backed up by a clear and accurate 2D floor plan.
He commented, “They [floor plans] are vital. Applicants demand to see a floor plan at the early stages often before even agreeing to view a property that has come to the market. To generate interest it is crucial to have an illustrative floor plan to help applicants fully visualise the property. Photos alone are no longer enough.”
Unsurprisingly, floor plans are now firmly established as a marketing tool that is adopted by almost all of the UK’s leading estate agents. Steve Hinshelwood, Managing Director of Blundells, based in Sheffield, said, “We receive very good feedback from our clients regarding floor plans and so use them on every property we market for sale. In fact, floor plans are central to our proposition.”
Standard floor plans with accurate measurement of the properties proportions and dimensions, but just on a much smaller scale, offer the most realistic image of the size of the rooms and also allows tenants or buyers to compare how the sizes of the rooms relate to one another. Add to this the use of interactive plans, and people can immediately see the room decoration combined with layout and scale.
Interactive plans show potential buyers or tenants the room decoration combined with layout and scale.” Brian Farrell Metropix
“This allows them to get an immediate feel of the property and it makes it easier for them to know if they then want to book a physical viewing,” said Brian Farrell, Director of Metropix.
Metropix recently reached a major milestone with the creation of is fivemillionth floor plan, and Farrell insists that he is yet to see any feedback from a consumer or vendor survey that states that floor plans are not sought – “people just want them!”
He continued, “Today, you would never market a property without photos and it’s very much becoming the same with floor plans. By giving consumers as much information as possible up front about a property, there are no surprises upon viewing.”
Farrell reports that 2D plans continue to be the best-selling but says that more agents are looking for additional ways to differentiate themselves.
“Some do this by customising their 2D plans with logos or the use of colour on floor plans,” he added.
Although 2D floor plans remain most common, Farrell, like many industry professionals, has noticed that 3D floor plans are growing increasingly popular with agents. “We cannot ignore the steady increase in 3D plans either – it wouldn’t surprise us to see 3D plans overtaking 2D within the next 24 months.”
3D floor plans
3D floor plans are a virtual model of a building floor plan, depicted from a bird’s eye view, utilised within the building industry to better convey architectural plans. But for some agents and vendors, 3D floor plans are a bit like marmite; you either love them or hate them. But it would seem that a growing number of people are developing a flavour for this rapidly improving marketing device.
“We have found that some vendors hate them,” said James Davies, Systems Manager at The Mobile Agent. “But overall demand from agents and vendors for 3D floor plans, which generally make a property look more appealing, has almost doubled in the past year. We now receive requests from agents to convert around 25 per cent of our standard property floor plans into 3D, which is up from just under 15 per cent a year ago.”
Davies believes that 3D floor plans can help an agent “win more instructions” from vendors as it enables them to “stand out from the crowd”.
Darrell Litchfield, Partner of Wye Residential, who introduced the 3D service in response to greater demand from clients, believes that his firm was the first agency in Buckinghamshire to offer 3D floor plans as part of the standard listing service, and to good effect.
He said, “We offer our customers the choice of 2D and 3D floor plans, and we find that some people prefer simple 2D, black and white plans, however as time goes on, we are receiving more and more requests for 3D.”
Wye Residential’s success suggests that more agents need to start paying more attention to 3D floor plans, especially the independent firms, if they want to have any chance of competing with larger companies.
3D floor plans can significantly increase the user’s retention time on angent’s website.” Paul Jaszynski Zentuvo
Paul Jaszynski, Country Manager at Zentuvo UK, said that he is not surprised to see that more people are demanding 3D floor plans to help market their properties. He said, “Standard 2D floor plans are a limited format, whereas 3D floor plans allow an estate agent, especially an independent firm trying to compete with big brands, to put their stamp on the market.
“While 2D floor plans are rather boring, 3D floor plans can significantly increase the user’s retention time on an agent’s website, as the tools available are far more interesting.”
The success of 3D floor plans has also boosted demand for other advanced visualisation systems, such as virtual planning, 3D view and video walkthroughs – all of which we will look at in next month’s issue of The Negotiator.
Whether opting for the more established 2D platform or the rapidly emerging 3D option, the ultimate aim of floor plans, a vital marketing tool, is to help stimulate greater interest in property by generating more enquiries and interactions from prospective buyers and renters, as well as win more business from vendors and landlords.
Meet the professionals:
Founded in 2004, Metropix is one of the UK’s leading suppliers of floor plan solutions to the residential estate agency and lettings market. Via Metropix, clients can produce 2D, 3D and interactive plans, in addition to walkthroughs, Google Earth 3D models or access maps for both online and print. There is a choice of floor plan delivery models; most popular is the online draw-it-yourself tool. This is complemented by the AutoDraw service, where an official floor plan will be quickly created using sketches provided by an agent. On average, seven floor plans are created using Metropix every minute of every working day.
Dowling Jones Design
Dowling Jones Design provides top quality floor plans and photography. With an emphasis on accuracy, their floor plans are drawn in accordance with RICS code of measuring practice. Realising the importance too of speed, the plans are produced efficiently with a fast turnaround. A variety of floor plan options are available, including the increasingly popular interactive and 3D plans along with their sought after Computer Generated Imagery, their approach, demonstrating a wide range of services and of skills, which are essential in the market place.
The Mobile Agent
The Mobile Agent provides floor plan software, PlanUp, which is now also available on the iPad AppStore. It allows you to draw your own floor plans, either onsite using an iPad, or back at the office using Windows software. For a fixed monthly fee of £39.99 + VAT, estate agents can get up to 30 floor plans per month, including 2D, 3D and Photo plans (plans with photo hotspots). The software can be used on a wide range of Windows machines and tablets, including an iPad, as your office needs. Additionally, there is full phone call support available.
Zentuvo UK provide RICS compliant 2D floor plans, with laser measurers that are used for pinpoint accuracy, and drawn up using the latest CAD software. The company also offer high quality 3D floor plans which includes selected furnishings to give an idea of space. What’s more, floor plans are generally turned around within 24 hours of a site visit, and there is also the option to have them fully branded to match corporate colours.
- Blundells www.blundells.com
- Wye Residential www.wyeres.co.uk
- Metropix www.metropix.co.uk
- Dowling Jones Design www.dowlingjones.com
- The Mobile Agent www.themobileagent.co.uk
- Zentuvo UK www.zentuvo.co.uk
We think floor plans are vital. 2D or 3D, they need to communicate what it could be like living in a property.
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