An apartment from an online store?
YIT CORPORATION News, November 8, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
In the future, you can buy a new apartment on your home sofa.
You can already rent a new home online. When will it be possible to buy an apartment on the Web?
“As you can order everything else online, we want the same opportunity when buying an apartment. We spend a lot of time on the Web and are more demanding about the information available online. The same applies to buying a new home,” says Heidi Salminen, Digital Marketing Development Manager at YIT Homes.
Buying an apartment involves intense emotions.
“The usual procedure for apartment sales used to be that when you needed a new home, you contacted a housing sales representative who explained the different options to you. This is no longer the case. Now you make several choices yourself before contacting the sales representative. First, you are inspired, after which you need information and ideas about what living could entail,” describes Pekka Helin, Senior Vice President of YIT’s Living Services unit.
“The housing sales representative needs to be involved already at the inspiration phase, and this takes place in electronic channels. The apartment purchase experience goes on after you move there, throughout the entire period you live in the apartment. Technological development is a driving force that enables the sales representative to offer what the buyer needs,” notes Helin.
Salminen emphasizes the importance of knowing your customers.
“It is important for YIT, as a company building and selling apartments, to know what home buyers are like and what they are looking for. Thus, when the idea of changing an apartment first occurs to the customer, the sales representative can offer good ideas, different alternatives and comprehensive information,” comments Salminen.
Digitalisation offers a more complete experience
Buying an apartment is not fully electronic yet, due to juridical reasons. Housing company shares are on paper, apartments are reserved on the phone and deeds of sale are personally signed. YIT will introduce an electronic reservation system towards the end of the year. There are also plans in the sector for introducing the long-awaited electronic housing company share certificates.
As apartment sales becomes increasingly digital, the role of sales representatives changes, too. Sari Hiilosvuo, Sales Manager for the Uusimaa region, has worked in apartment sales and marketing for 20 years. The development from paper brochures to virtual reality (VR) apartment viewings has been fast.
“Even e-mail and online apartment brochures revolutionized sales. This year, the chat has adopted an extremely important and significant role. It is easier to type a question for the sales representative and to focus on the online discussion than to agree on a separate appointment,” says Hiilosvuo.
“It is nice to first look at apartments yourself, provided that there is a comprehensive information package available. It may be difficult to picture the dimensions of an apartment based on the floor plan, for instance. That’s why VR glasses, 3D images and high-quality videos have been welcomed with great enthusiasm,” explains Hiilosvuo.
The sales representative still plays an important role; with a professional’s help, it is easier to find a suitable home. In the future, the sales representative can virtually accompany the customer on VR tours and answer questions. YIT’s residential sales office on the Arkadiankatu street in Helsinki is being renewed and soon it will be possible to make a virtual visit to several apartments during one visit to the sales office.
Helin believes that fully digital apartment sales will be reality in five years. In that case, buying an apartment would proceed like this, for instance:
A person passing by the plot scans the code on the fence with their phone and immediately sees what kind of a building is being constructed there. The customer learns more about the building project online and makes a VR tour in the apartment. The sales representative can be reached through the chat and can also accompany the customer on a VR tour.
The apartment can be reserved in an online service and the electronic housing company share certificate is received. Materials are selected online in the YIT Plus service directly inside the virtual apartment, after which the customer can try out different interior decoration solutions before moving in. There is also a dedicated service where the customer can learn to know future neighbours before moving as well as discuss materials with people moving in into identical apartments.
Later, the needs for making changes to the apartment can be tested online and discussed with the developer.
The digital experience complements the mental image the customer has.
“Home buyers will surely still visit the plot, too. People want to get to know the surroundings of their new home and the nearby services. Virtual reality offers a better opportunity to learn more about the building than just imagine what it would look like. When you know the place, the purchase decision is easier to make,” Hiilosvuo points out.
YIT’s digital apartment sales:
- The website features an extensive amount of information about practices related to buying an apartment, ranging from legal affairs to tips for interior decoration.
- Comprehensive details and images of all YIT’s building projects and areas are available online. In addition, more and more buildings are introduced with videos, 3D illustrations and VR glasses.
- You can discuss with the sales representative using the chat service on the website – there is no need to agree on a separate appointment.
- The Neighbourly Guide service makes it possible to reach people that already live in the building or in the area and ask them about their experiences.
- Once the decision to purchase a new apartment is made, the YIT Plus service offers the opportunity to select materials, view documents, watch the progress of construction and be informed of what happens in the housing company.
Neighbourly Guides: https://www.yit.fi/asunnot/naapurioppaat (in Finnish)
YIT Plus: https://www.yit.fi/asunnot/asunnon-ostajalle/yit-plus (in Finnish)
Steps to a new home: https://www.yit.fi/asunnot/asunnon-ostajalle/askeleet-uuteen-kotiin (in Finnish)
For further information, please contact:
Pekka Helin, Senior Vice President, Living Services, YIT Corporation, tel. +35840 588 8135, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hanna Malmivaara, Vice President, Communications, YIT Corporation, tel. +35840 561 6568, email@example.com
YIT creates better living environment by developing and constructing housing, business premises, infrastructure and entire areas. Our vision is to bring more life in sustainable cities. We want to focus on caring for customer, visionary urban development, passionate execution and inspiring leadership. Our growth engine is urban development involving partners. Our operating area covers Finland, Russia, the Baltic countries, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. In 2016, our revenue amounted to nearly EUR 1.8 billion, and we employ about 5,300 employees. Our share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki. www.yitgroup.com