Real estate industry takes page from popular video game to sell homes

GOSSIP & RUMORS: Real estate industry takes page from popular video game to sell homes


Imagine if you could tour your dream home – from any place, at any day or time – before it has broken ground. 

That’s exactly what real estate developers are testing.

The task, stemming from video game makers like Fortnite, is being performed by cutting-edge technology. 

“It’s been a fascinating tool for us. And it really helps people who aren’t able to visualize buying off a plan, to seeing it not in real life, but in the virtual world where it’s 3D and you can actually walk through the space, and you get to sense the grandness of it all,” Related Group senior vice president Eric Fordin told Fox News Digital.

“It gives our sales team and their clients, the outside brokers, the opportunity to really showcase what a world-class product is going to look like,” he added.

The Related Group reportedly boosted sales after teaming up with Brazil-based METAoriginal, to create real-time, life-like renderings for two of Fordin’s South Florida condominium buildings that haven’t been built yet.

METAoriginal told Digital on background that it takes four to six months to finish a rendering and can cost anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million depending on the size and scale of the project.

The video game-inspired platform, called “Unreal Engine 5,” creates photo-realistic visuals and allows for client customization, changing the floors, furniture, or time of day with just a click.


The Related Group reportedly boosted sales after teaming up with Brazil-based METAoriginal, to create real-time, life-like renderings for two of Fordin’s South Florida condominium buildings that haven’t been built yet. Aldeca Productions – stock.adobe.com

It’s taken more than 12 years to perfect the technology, which has now been used by METAoriginal for 40 different properties.

“It’s true to life,” Fordin said of the technology.

“It was originally brought up to be used as a marketing tool, but we’re using it as a design tool where if we say, ‘No, we don’t like where that wall is sitting, it doesn’t look right. We want to adjust it,’ we can make that change on the fly.”

One of the most attractive aspects of the technology, according to the real estate expert, is that it doesn’t require virtual reality goggles to optimize the client’s experience.

“We wanted people to be able to come to a sales center or be in a space, be sitting on the couch… where they can just sit there and actually enjoy. It’s like watching a movie, so to speak, as opposed to having to put the goggles on and walk around the space and walk up, down, sideways and hope you don’t bang into a wall,” Fordin explained.

“If you’re wearing those goggles, you can’t have that one-on-one human interaction and connection.”


Fortnite game graphic is displayed on a smartphone in front of Apple logo
METAoriginal told Digital on background that it takes four to six months to finish a rendering and can cost anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million depending on the size and scale of the project. REUTERS

In addition to potentially saving time and money on the developers’ backend, Fordin pointed out that the tech also eliminates uncertainty for the client. 

“I would say if there is a downside,” he said, “it gives them a point of indecision, whether they want this unit or that unit… and that’s not a bad thing for us. That’s a good thing because they come back and even after they’ve signed, they’re like: can I go back into my unit again? I want to see this. So it’s not only a good tour from a sales point, it’s a good reinforcement tool as well.”

Prior to any in-person construction or tours, Related Group’s Fisher Island property was reportedly 50% sold, while the luxury Bal Harbour condominium is north of 30% sold – however, Fordin isn’t concerned that the technological advancements could put his job at risk.

“I’m not worried of [sic] technology taking over my job. This is very hands-on, it’s a very person-to-person type of relationship. And I don’t see artificial intelligence coming and selling and running a project from soup to nuts. Doesn’t happen,” Related’s SVP said.

Fordin recommended other developers consider investing in the technology and expanded on “two sides of the coin.”

“It’s an amazing tool for sales and marketing purposes, but it’s an even better tool from a design perspective because you can see your design evolving before your eyes, before you put one shovel in the ground, which then will lead to change orders,” he said.

“Although it costs a good bit of money going in to get it started, it definitely has a payoff when you’re saving yourself on potential change orders down the line, and it’s helping you with your sales as well.”



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