While in theory a floor plan adds value to any property listing, a reality check shows that only a small percent of the real estate listings includes floor plans.
Floor plans are not used because selling or renting properties works in a conventional manner without them, and thus the cost and effort to produce them is not seen as necessary. However, as the sales process becomes more digital, the floor plan is a tool to get more visits. Is one side correct or are floor plans more of a mixed bag?
Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of including floor plans in real estate listings.
- Differentiate the Ad
A floor plan is the best way to show the real basics: dimensions, square footage, room configuration, where are the entries, which way the property faces (north, east, etc). It makes the ad stand out from the crowd and increases chances visitors will click on it instead of going to the next one with nicer pictures. Someone looking for a new place might browse dozens of ads in a day, so making the listing more memorable can make a difference.
- Capture More Time Online From Buyers
With the floor plan, the clients, especially those looking to rent, can actually figure out exactly what furniture fits. Tenants get a better and much closer idea of the total furnishing costs without having to go back and forth to the home to measure something. By planning their prospective new home furniture, future residents are getting involved on a personal level with the new place and they facilitate a smoother conversation when discussing the space.
- Avoid Pointless Viewings and Qualify the Buyer
Floor plans put prospective clients in a much better position to decide whether the property matches their needs. With a floor plan in front of their eyes a buyer can decide if it’s a fit, thus saving both parts time and effort. For example, residential buyers who need a semi-detached apartment will be able to see the room configuration from the floor plan. If they don’t like the room layout they see in the floor plan, there are less chances that they will arrange an inspection and pull out afterwards.
- Renting to Professionals? Floor Plans are a Must
Within all real estate segments, investment properties is the area where floor plans qualify from nice-to-have to an item of necessity. For single family properties floor plans are probably less important. But floor efficiency has top importance for client looking to rent. A client can decide based on a floor plan alone if the property fits the interest and it’s worth going further with it (too many columns, too low ceilings, too few amenities, too little infrastructure and other obstacles to fit-out can disqualify a property from start).
- Occupied Properties
Each time there is a change of tenants, there may be a void period between when the property is not producing any rental income. For all properties that are under a tenancy agreement, the floor plan allows the landlord to re advertise the property to new prospective tenants without disturbing the existing tenants. This can help decreasing the average void period between tenant changes.
- Out of Area Buyers
Out of area buyers look for brief description of what they are looking for which may include floor plans so they either eliminate or be able to further have detailed discussions. These allow most people to have a good idea of the subject property and its features (at least the number of internal spaces and their broad dimensions).
- Not Easily Available
Realtors are hired to help market the property in the best possible way. If there is a floor plan on hand from a licensed architect – great – they will use it. But most properties on the market don’t have readily available floor plans. Such cases one need to rely on what is on file with the local municipality, and usually these are pieces of things that are old and hard to use (unless you are lucky and there was a reno in the recent past).
- High Costs for a Legal Floor Plan
Architects are licenced to walk and measure a space to produce a legal floor plan that represents the property, but this service comes with a price tag. Most people or realtors cannot practical sense of hiring an architect to layout a house just to sell it.
Also, realtors are at risk to provide any information other than the information that the seller has furnished them or that done by a licensed professional… because the liability will rely on the source of the information. They usually have E&O Insurance (Errors & Omissions) as an industry standard because they are often the ones held responsible for “Representation” of a property and are therefore liable for any “Mis-representation”.
- “Not Necessary”
Many realtors see them as not mandatory, because a floor plan does not communicate the info in which prospective residents are most interested: they don’t give potential buyers/renters an adequate sense or feeling of the property. Prospects want to walk the property, inside and out, to get a sense of how the layout flows from area to area — some homes feel larger or smaller than similarly-sized units. Has the home been maintained? What is the feel of the neighborhood — upscale, rundown?
Are the real estate pictures better than the floor plans to translate the sense of the property to the buyer? We see that pictures come with most ads. It is not easily possible for the buyer to preview how the images fit together and get the whole house representation from images only. With the floor plan buyers can piece together the photos and make a reasonable estimate of the property.
Providing the floor plan is becoming more common as technology makes them easier to produce – there is a growing trend amongst realtors to use these easy to layout floor plan services that one can find online. Either a DIY Platform or a Freelancer to draw the layout. This does still open the realtors up to liability since they are the one’s originating the drawing, but it can be easily handled with a “Disclaimer” on the drawing.
Which Floor Plans Attract Most Views?
Floor plans don’t have to look technical and boring with just lines and numbers, they can be colored, very visual and appealing.
The most basic plans are simply drawn in black and white, with only few important dimensions, windows and doors placement at scale. Colored plans are more eye-catching, while a textured plan greatly shows off a home’s internal and external finishes, such as tiles or decking. A minimal amount of furniture, appliances and fixtures can be added to give buyers an idea of potential furniture placements.
Interactive floor plans allow visitors to click on a link and visit the property floor plan in detail, place furniture and decor icons to imagine various layouts, preview the floor plan in 3D, and print a copy of the layout in the end. Spending time on an interactive floor plan to furnish and preview spaces actually creates some emotional involvement with the property.
How efficient are floor plans for property marketing? If you use them, what service do you use to create them – any tips for DIY platforms?
July 23, 2018