Developing a website for premium residential real estate — strategy and tips for creating a great design
Any luxury product means something beyond useful attributes; it has one or several intangible qualities that make it especially desirable. These qualities serve to signify a social status or group belonging, an exclusive lifestyle and high aesthetics, a superior product quality, or tradition and heritage.
Possessing a product with these attributes allows the owner to transcend their personality and feel like something greater, at least for a brief period of time. Essentially, people buy emotions, and the emotion of personal transcendence is at the pinnacle of the hierarchy of desires.
The main task when developing a luxury real estate website is to identify, expand on and communicate these attributes with a maximum effect. Here are a few tips on how to do it.
Researching product attributes
To fully understand the product’s attributes, speak with the key people on the product’s team and important external people — in our case, the building’s architects and designers. The product’s technical, development, sales and marketing teams can provide a comprehensive overview of its functional and emotional attributes, ranging from its location to the peculiarities of the construction.
The architects and the interior designers may be a source of additional insight into more nuanced matters, such as the history of the location or the reasons behind certain aesthetic or functional decisions. They usually do their own research, approach the product’s design from a wider perspective than developers, and possess a rich historic and aesthetic background. Talking to them is always a good idea, and filming an interview an even better one.
By the end of your research you will be equipped with a wide spectrum of information on everything about the project:
Social infrastructure around, transport and connectivity, ecology and recreation, history and future development plans
Functional insight into the building
Amenities, technical design facts, adjacent territory, security
Architecture and design
Facade and common spaces design, background of the aesthetic and functional design
Layouts, views, design and finishing options
Selecting the right product attributes
The more your product communication resonates with what your potential buyers hold dear, the more effective it will be. This is why understanding your clients is essential. Depending on their age, cultural and social background you may be able to derive how buying a new apartment or a house fits their life context, what drives their decision, how they envision their life in their new home. Having this insight will enable you to highlight the most appropriate product attributes in your communication.
Building a story
Product attributes alone rarely inspire prospective buyers, as they don’t convey emotions. Inspiration comes with a sense of a lifestyle, eliteness, craftsmanship, tradition, or anything else that may resonate with your clients. These ideas, by their very nature, can’t be communicated on a rational level; they require a compelling story that speaks to them on a subconscious level.
The key to creating a product’s story is forging a single strong idea that goes above and beyond the realm of rational product attributes, yet is directly connected to them, and represents an idea from the apex of your potential buyer’s desires and goals.
To arrive at the idea for your product’s story, distill the functional product attributes into a larger emotional essence; something that your potential buyers may take as a final subliminal push to acquire the property. A strong emotional story is the ignition key for all the communication parts to come together and create a cohesive and impactful impression. It adds the necessary depth to the communication and creates a sense of exceptional value, by alluding to larger ideals that potential buyers will want to transcend into.
After arriving at a solid story idea, present the product attributes in light of the story by finding their analogues in the story’s language. Thus, the infrastructure becomes craftsmanship, architecture and design — beauty or personal realisation, surroundings — care for your family’s future and wellbeing.
To be heard and remembered, your message should be original, and not mirror those of your competitors. Study the competition and outline their key brand messages, as well as their strong and weak points. When building your story, pick the ideas that are the most relevant for your potential buyers, among those which haven’t yet been used by your rivals.
Developing the visual design language
The goal of visual design is to help convey the right message to potential buyers, and differentiate your product from the competitors. It wraps information into a rich emotional package, and helps the customers understand and remember the key differences between products. It makes sense to develop a design that:
Resonates with the potential customers
Older clientele gravitates towards a more classical style, and design elements that traditionally represent luxury. Younger customers are more appreciative of new and innovative ideas, dynamism and fun. For a mixed audience a middle line would be appropriate.
Matches the tone of the selected product attributes and the product’s story
The design will “feel” right when it is an integral part of the message you want to convey, rather than an abstract concept. To achieve this, align the visual design with the main themes of the product story. Be avant-garde if your product is avant-garde; be balanced if your message is about balance in life; be traditional if your story is about everlasting values; be high-tech if your product is high-tech.
Stands out from the competition
The website’s colours, tone, and other features should differentiate it from its competitors, and help potential customers to easily remember it. If your website copies another site, then customers may have difficulty remembering the product, or may confuse it with something else.
The comfort of a city apartment surrounded by the best natural landscape in the Moscow region.
Product story idea
Finding balance in your life.
From the product’s name to the visual presentation on the website divided in two halves, the product’s message is implemented as an effective combination of opposites, creating a rich effect.
An architectural masterpiece in a high-profile Moscow neighbourhood redesigned into deluxe housing.
Product story idea
Making the dream of acquiring a piece of Moscow’s rich history a reality.
Ephemeral and dreamy watercolours, coupled with historical content and rich illustrations, create an elegant design language that conveys the uniqueness and high product value, with understatement and effect.
Deluxe-class residences in the most prestigious district in Moscow.
Product story idea
Preserving eternal values.
An ultra luxury development, Astris is designed for people who have discovered the most important things in life, and who ares eager to pass their belongings on to their children. The product features are presented as everlasting concepts, that clients will be able to relate to with their purchase.
A triptych of design houses in Moscow’s avant-garde district.
Product story idea
Let your originality blossom in the unique design context.
The building is located in Moscow’s historic avant-garde district, which is reflected in the building’s design and brand. The website design builds on the same bold and vivid notes, creating a unique story with original visual and interactive elements.
Don’t allow cliches
Don’t fall for minimalism
Minimalist design has become the lingua franca of luxury communication. In too many cases, however, there’s very little substance, ideas or reason behind the form. Less is more when the content of the message is of the utmost quality, comprehensive, and inspiring in a way that there’s just nothing else to add. In other cases it just makes the communication dull and uninspiring. Sometimes the drive for reduction is taken to absurd levels, with UX just thrown out of the window.
Design by first principles
Base your design on solid research. Build gradually from the product’s attributes, to the story, to the visual design. This will make every part of the communication contribute organically to a bigger message, that will be greater than the sum of its parts. Copying the text from one website, visual style from the second, and features from the third will greatly harm your message — you may like them, but this approach will make your communication look inconsistent and untrustworthy.
Dare to be original
Your potential clients are bombarded with almost identical messages and designs. If your message is just like the rest you risk being lost in the noise. Emotional, relevant and genuinely valuable messages can be picked out and remembered much more easily.
Best practices in creating website content for premium residential real estate
Some themes and points that will add value to your website:
- Transportation and accessibility
Easy and quick ways to get to the important points in the city, information about building access routes.
Lack of industrial buildings, abundance of parks, air quality.
Information about any historic places, people or events.
- Social infrastructure
Schools, health, shopping, etc.
Information about the architectural style and its roots, facades, materials and technologies, BIM design, etc.
- Common space design
Lobby, parking and other shared premises.
- Apartment interior design
Presentation of available styles and finishes.
- Inner territory design
Presentation of the available features and design.
- In the building
Сolourful presentation of services, entertainment, sports, health and wellbeing facilities in the building.
- In close proximity
Amap with selected social infrastructure points around the project, with short descriptions and photos.
- Common spaces functional offerings, like pram spaces or pet baths.
- Apartment features
Any remarkable functional or technical details, like panoramic windows, high ceilings, smart home equipment, etc.
- Parking features.
- Building engineers’ details.
A collection of images used on the website, grouped into categories for easy access: interior, exterior, apartments, views from the apartments. The views from the apartments could be broken down by floor (or number of floors for high-rises).
- Parametric search
Filter apartments by space, number of rooms, floor, price, and any special amenities they may have.
- Visual selection
Find an apartment by selecting a floor on a building’s facade, then by selecting an apartment on a floor plan. To facilitate the selection, show the number of available apartments when hovering over a floor.
Allow the client to find a desired apartment by asking a series of questions about their preferences.
- Apartment page
Besides the apartment plans, which should be stripped of unnecessary technical information and created in the brand’s visual style, this page may contain information on any special details. finishing options, views from the windows, links to financing information, as well as a selection of similar apartments.
- Add to favourites
A kind or a wishlist folder where the client can save apartments that they liked.
- Printable plans
Make sure to offer downloadable high-quality apartment plans, with all the relevant information.
For a touchscreen in a showroom, It makes sense to create a slimmer version of the website, designed to go along with the sales manager’s presentation. Apartment selection on this kind of website can be structured from the sales manager’s perspective, allowing them to easily arrive at apartment types that may be of interest to the particular client. It could start with layout / room selection, then orientation, floor etc, essentially working like a wizard.
View the original article and download a brief takeaway document at videinfra.com