Marketing

Turn your agency into a dream factory with CGI

Catherine Lamond
Written by Catherine Lamond

We’ve all become familiar with computer-generated imagery (CGI) in films, where real actors mix with CGI animals or images. CGI can transform an existing image or create an amazing new one. In the world of entertainment, the latest computer games, children’s films and massively popular series, such as Game of Thrones, all use CGI.

But CGI is also important in other areas. It’s heavily used by product designers, who can make virtual reality models that act as highly realistic prototypes of their designs. They can assess the functioning of their model, identifying and correcting weaknesses, before moving on to “real world” models which are far more expensive to produce. In medicine too, CGI can be used to produce superbly realistic images of the human body and its organs.

But has CGI got a function in the world of Estate Agency? The answer is yes, in several ways.

Using CGI to enhance the appeal of a house

Some houses just won’t sell, despite being in a desirable location, and despite having their price reduced. This lack of interest from buyers can be the result of poor décor and lacklustre furnishings. Although agents encourage buyers to imagine the house differently, many buyers struggle to get past the current look of the home. By contrast, sometimes the sellers have moved out and left the house so bare and impersonal that it’s hard to imagine what it would be like as a home.

This is where CGI comes to the rescue. It can fill in the gaps when buyers are struggling to envisage a different look and feel for the house. An agent can make a video of the current property, then use CGI to edit the video to show the property’s potential. At a stroke of the mouse, clutter is removed, garish carpets gone and a new kitchen installed.

The CGI representation can illustrate what the house would look like if walls were taken down to create an open plan scheme, or French windows installed to lead into the garden. There’s a great example of this in every episode of the series “Buying and Selling” on TV, where CGI is used to show how the new kitchens and bathrooms will look, in order to get the house owners to sign up to the renovation.

As an example of what CGI can do, take the case of an attractive family house in Kent that had failed to sell, despite being on the market for a year. A forward-thinking agent advised the family to hire a CGI expert, who could produce various desirable images of the way the house could be developed. With virtual views of a possible underground pool and other value-adding features to spark buyers’ imaginations, the house suddenly increased in value and sold at nearly £70,000 over its asking price.

Using CGI to market your business

Agents are often selling people a dream of a new life, not just a pile of bricks and mortar. CGI is the next logical development in that process. We’ve had house staging and got used to the idea of hiring in furniture to enhance the look of the place. Now an agent can go even further in assisting sellers, by showing viewers the full potential of the place.

As a property expert, the agent is well aware of exactly what the current market wants – whether that’s open plan living, raised beds in the garden, a home office or a man-cave in the basement.

So CGI is another weapon in the agent’s armoury, when it comes to getting a quick sale and a great price for the seller. The agents who can use it will have a real edge over their competitors, once sellers start understanding its potential for showing off their home and engaging buyers’ imaginations with the ways they could live in it.

Get an expert to help

Some CGI designers focus purely on property and have a portfolio of property presentations they can show you. They will quote a price based on the size of the property, and what you want to do with the images. CGI packages aren’t that expensive any more, and can be bought for in-house use, if you see CGI becoming a standard part of your offer to sellers.

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About the author

Catherine Lamond

Catherine Lamond

Catherine Lamond is the owner of Nethouseprices. Catherine is a trained chartered surveyor with specialism in planning and development. Catherine has been in charge of Nethouseprices for the last ten years but has also undertaken her own personal property projects on the side, such as refurbishing and extending her homes. She is supported by a dedicated technical and marketing team.

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