Competence, Passion, and Exclusivity
Engel & Völkers is one of the world’s premier real estate agencies for luxury properties. It offers its wealthy clients full service, from the initial consultation to handing over the keys, with a branded experience that is consistent worldwide. Founded in Hamburg, Germany, in 1977, the company has since expanded to serve customers in 34 countries and has added commercial real estate, aircraft, and yachts to its portfolio.
The agency values three things above all others: competence, passion, and exclusivity. Engel & Völkers only hires elite professionals and offers them continuous training in its in-house real estate academy. Agents put their best effort into every aspect of their work, from the first meeting with clients to closing. And they handpick only the highest-quality properties on the market, emphasizing class over mass. All of this naturally means the technology they use must be state of the art.
The Hardest Year in Almost a Century
The COVID-19 pandemic damaged almost every sector of the global economy in 2020, and real estate also felt the impact. Selling houses requires meeting people, talking with them, and guiding them to and around properties. Public health measures in place around the world today have strictly limited all of these things.
“Everyone expected a real estate crash,” says office manager Tatjana Krstevski. “Sellers did not want anyone visiting their home, and buyers were unsure if they could still afford to buy what they wanted.”
Engel & Völkers had to find new ways to run its business while hampered with so many restrictions. Since property visits had to be minimized, the company was forced to improve its listings with better photos, drone videos, more detailed exposés, and virtual tours.
“It wasn’t a choice,” says license partner Antonio Carnazza. “It was a matter of staying in business. At a time when buyers were afraid to move, when owners were afraid to let other people into their homes, when real estate agents were afraid to meet other people, we had to find a solution.”
Better Prepared with Matterport
Engel & Völkers was better prepared for these challenges compared to most real estate companies. It had already shopped around for the best technologies on the market and had chosen Matterport. “We had to be careful,” says Krstevski. “Not every virtual tour product can create the real thing. Some only include slides and video.”
“Virtual site visits were becoming more popular even before the pandemic,” Carnazza says, “but they can be a disappointing experience if captured with cheap cameras. Matterport, though, creates the highest-quality 3D virtual tours, 4K pictures, and accurate measurements of floor plans and rooms. We did not hesitate to buy it. And we were lucky: when the pandemic hit, we were already using it. Our virtual tours were already online, and our consultants were already trained.”
Agents used Matterport Pro2 cameras to capture properties in 3D and render them in rich 3D virtual tours that can be accessed any time, from anywhere by any and all of its clients. “Thanks to Matterport, we can now transform traditional impersonal property viewings into more comfortable, interactive, and less time-consuming experiences,” says assistant marketing manager Vittoria Leonardi. “It has been particularly useful during the difficult time of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the only reason we’ve been able to continue to work.”
Clients can visit a property as many times as they like, even if they’re international buyers. And they can show it to their partners and relatives who live far away.
“We can generate a complete floor plan using only one camera,” says Krstevski, “and we can highlight key features and include them in teaser videos.” Adds Leonardi: “Clients can even see if their furniture will fit in the new house. None of these things were possible before.”
An Unexpected Banner Year
With Matterport virtual tours, clients can visit properties without time, distance, the weather, or even a pandemic getting in the way. And since more visits mean more sales, which can make the difference between a good year and a bad year.
Initially, Engel & Völkers hoped to just make it through 2020, but it did much better than that.
“Ours was the only real estate company in some regions with Matterport 3D virtual tours,” Carnazza says. “The result is that we will close 2020, which is the worst year ever for our specific market, with record revenue -- 30 percent better than in 2019.”
Engel & Völkers is a luxury real estate brand with agents in 34 countries on five continents. Founded in Hamburg, Germany, in 1977, the company now employs more than 12,000 people and has expanded from strictly selling exclusive residential properties to commercial real estate, aircraft, and yachts.
Create virtual tours of real estate properties using the most cutting-edge technology available to survive and even thrive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Matterport creates 3D virtual tours that are so realistic that buyers can virtually visit even the most exclusive luxury properties and feel like they’ve seen them in person.