The pandemic has drastically changed the way potential tenants and buyers bond with properties. With restricted in-person interactions, many buyers were and still are struggling to get an accurate picture of what spaces look and feel like. A breakthrough solution from landlords and realtors has been the use of 3D virtual tours. This has become the number one marketing tool for New York City real estate listings to help move properties faster.
Alexandre Folacci, CEO of 3D Scan Manhattan, is one of the go-to leaders in this emerging space. He is a former world-class athlete, the national champion of France in the decathlon, and award-winning personal trainer who became a 3D photographer in 2019. He has shot over $2B worth of real estate in NYC in the last 12 months, for both commercial and residential buildings. His virtual tours for Corcoran Sunshine, Related and JLL, among other clients, have all been critical to the sales process.
“3D photography is now expected from buyers and renters. Whether they are viewing a listing internationally or they are remaining cautious of Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to get the prospects emotionally connected to the properties,” Folacci shared. “The difference between a good and bad 3D virtual tour is immediately noticeable — quality is key. If you want to hire a good 3D photographer, they need not only have the best camera, but also have to be reliable, detail-oriented and technically savvy. The technical expertise to geometrically map the floor plan, connect each room properly with the right angle, and cleanly edit the tour in order to create a fluid and intuitive experience requires some kind of talent.”
Folacci has become an expert in shooting large projects, such as entire buildings, totaling over 500,000 square feet. “It becomes very difficult and technical to put more than 40,000 square feet per virtual tour without crashing the software or losing quality. I developed specific techniques to do so, and it works very well for my commercial real estate projects,” Folacci continued. “I am always focused on delivering the best product possible to my clients for an affordable price. This is how you build a strong brand and reputation in any industry.”
Scott Vinett, an executive vice president at JLL, shared his experience working with Folacci: “Alex is a fantastic resource. I’ve hired him for multiple commercial office space projects. He is reliable, professional, and his scans are top-notch. Alex delivers a quality product that immensely helps with the marketing of the space. I’d highly recommend working with him to enhance your listings.”
Similarly, having a photographer who understands how weather, sun exposure and staging affect the overall 3D tour is crucial for success, particularly when shooting luxury real estate. Capturing the essence of the space, artwork and details of the rooms increases the buyers’ ability to truly feel like they are within the space and form early emotional connections. Folacci owns properties in Manhattan and in the Midwest, which gives him a good understanding of what other investors want to see when buying or renting.
Alexandre saw a number of investors and homebuyers seize the opportunity to buy a condo for the price of a co-op in 2020, and now he is seeing residential prices starting to go up in 2021. He believes the demand will continue to rapidly grow in this year, especially when the city fully reopens. In a post-Covid world, he predicts, the New York residential market will reach new heights in 2022.
Folacci is keenly attuned to the market’s needs and sees a difficult future for New York City office buildings. “The big commercial landlords are getting affected the most, because their tenants are downsizing to smaller offices by letting their employees work from home. Based on my research and talking to many experts in the industry, the 2020 pandemic effects can last five to 10 years for the big commercial real estate market in New York, because workers learned to be effective working from home by using remote technologies,” Folacci said. “Many companies will let a portion of their employees work remotely for years to come, which will allow businesses to hire talent from anywhere in the world and spend less money on their office rent. Commercial landlords are now competing for a small pool of potential tenants, and too much inventory is on the market. Only the ones with the best marketing strategies and the best offers will manage to avoid vacancy and stop the bleeding.”
Last words from Alexandre Folacci: “If you are interested in getting a 3D virtual tour for your listings or your clients, you can find many photographers in New York City, and most of them will do a proper job. Keep in mind the advice discussed in this article while hiring a 3D professional. If you would like to work with me, I would be happy to work on your projects.”