By Andreea on 19 March 2019
I was sitting on my mother’s newly bought couches, sipping some hot cocoa on last year’s Christmas Eve. The holiday cheer floated in the air and my family was cracking jokes and telling stories. Amongst the loud voices, I realized that I hadn’t heard my sister-in-law’s comments in a while. Where had she gone?
There she was: in the back corner of the living room, snuggled in a large armchair, attention fixated on her laptop. Curiosity took hold of me and I went over to ask if she’d like to join in on a game of monopoly. Her reply?
‘No can do, dear. Have you seen these floor plans, though?!’
It struck me then. I had no idea when, why, or how, but floor plan porn had become a thing.
Floor Plan Fantasies
How is it that people window shop line drawings of apartments they rarely can afford? My sister-in-law started a long row of questions in my mind. I researched everything that I could and concluded that, in the past year, floor plan porn had become quite an influential trend.
Publications such as Curbed and Variety (this surprised me as I thought the magazine only talks about celebrities and what they had for breakfast) often write about the floor plan trend. Specialized platforms, such as RE Technology’s article on the subject, also delve into the works of this enigmatic imagination exercise. Rightmove published a study saying that 1 in 5 users would ignore a property with no floor plan and that these are sometimes more important than images of the actual property. What exactly triggers this floor plan crave?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find an answer to why and how this trend became so viral. But, it did make me ponder on how property portals can leverage this to their own advantage. So, I had a quick play around some of the biggest real estate portals to find out how popular floor plans were.
On Zillow’s website, to get from the main image to the floor plan it took me 14 clicks. RightMove? 11 clicks. Zoopla? 12 clicks. It seems counterproductive to hide something so viral all the way to the end of a listing. It’s true that in this day and age, Millennials are demanding fast information and expect it to be at their fingertips.
Yet, this isn’t about Millennials and their speed hungry brains. Real estate images are the most powerful asset portals and brokerages have. These guys rely on eyeballs and site engagement; I am sure a significant part of a portal’s expenditure goes on SEO. Time spent on a site and engagement with it are key metrics that real estate players present to their shareholders.
Why aren’t they making the best use of their images, especially the floor plans?
Maybe it’s because of lack of resources or knowledge on this new, intriguing trend. Regardless of the reason why real estate businesses are not leveraging floor plans, there are a few solutions out there that can help them gain more exposure and more engagement.
1. Tag and categorize images to improve accuracy.
2. Organize images based on consumer behavior.
3. Highlight them to attract visitor’s attention.
The best news is that technology can already do all 3 at once. Restb.ai offers computer vision solutions based on machine learning algorithms that are trained on millions of real estate images. The technology tags, categorizes, and organizes images with real estate keywords.
In the battle for eyeballs and the love of “marginal gains”, using a specialized computer vision solution will help bring forward those floor plans that are so appealing to Millennials. For those who want a quick and easy way get an edge, make the best use of your listing images.