Byhagen Larsneset by BoNord

How innovation and technology impact the way apartments are sold – An interview with BoNord

BoNord is a property developer focused on building homes in the north of Norway. They typically build around 300 apartments per year, and are one of the earliest adopters of QiSpace technology. We had an opportunity to sit down with Kurt Figenschau, CEO of  BoNord and Bjørn Mathisen, General Manager of BoNord Garanti Eiendomsmegling to learn more about how their company views innovation in the Proptech space, and what they have done differently by using QiSpace.

With multiple decades of experience in the property development and brokerage sectors between them, they have witnessed an evolution of proptech solutions since they entered the field. Bjørn commented, “It’s developed enormously. When we started in the 80’s, and were going to sell real estate, we started with colored pencils and paper blueprints, and we hung them up in the window of the real estate broker. So, the development from where we were to where we are today has been enormous. And we made a giant step forward using QiSpace. No doubt about it.”

Traditionally, when prospective buyers have wanted to buy an apartment before it has been built (off-plan), they would firstly need to try to mentally visualise that apartment using 2D floorplans. In some cases, a show apartment would be built and furnished, and prospective buyers would be invited to view. This solution, however, has the obvious limitations as the buyers cannot see the apartment that actually reflects their interest, nor can they imagine the view from the window based on what they can see in the show apartment.

“Some buyers have only been in [QiSpace] once and then they make a decision to buy… We first talked to them on Thursday, and on Friday they made a decision.” 

3D visualisations have become increasinly popular in recent years. However, they are expensive to produce, and typically the 3D efforts has been limited to either just one apartment or only to be used for generating a few still shots. QiSpace has developed an advanced technology pipeline that provides a cost-effective way of rendering all apartments in photorealistc 3D. The QiSpace solution takes in the BIM model directly, and combines with geolocation and high-fidelity map data and aerial photos, resulting in accurate views from each window of every apartment. Bjørn explains, “…we get feedback from our clients that they’ve used the [QiSpace] apartment chooser and moved around several times in all corners of the apartments, for several sessions. And they say they haven’t done anything else for two weeks! And some use it a lot and go through ALL the apartments. And they go out on the balcony, see the view, and think it’s quite amazing. For the users, this is very useful.”

For some buyers, a show apartment may still be needed, because it can give the buyers tangible idea of the materials used. Kurt believes that there is a strong joint value proposition for larger projects. “…you can combine [a show apartment] with having a computer, or having a digital showroom as well. But… you need to have a project that goes over some years, because the investment of building a showroom is pretty high”. 

You can display different interior options within QiSpace's virtual viewer.
[when] we can add furniture and arrange it differently, that’s going to be a huge step.

Often, a show apartment is furnished to convey a particular lifestyle or preference for a type of design. The same is true for a single 3D apartment. What has been missing is the ability for the buyer to imprint their own style preferences. QiSpace can cater for visualizing multiple interior options as a starting point for full customisation of kitchens, bathrooms and furniture. Kurt explains, “ [when] we can add furniture and arrange it differently, that’s going to be a huge step. Because, I don’t know about you Bjørn, but I remember when I was working in real estate and I was selling a project, many guys were like ‘is this sofa gonna fit? How big can the bed be? Dining table… how many chairs can I have, if I have some extra space how is that going to look? Is there going to be space for 8 or 10, or is there only a maximum 4?’ It’s pretty hard to do that with a drawing, to get a mental idea.” QiSpace’s virtual tour capability is a great help to all these questions.

BoNord is in the business of creating good and safe homes. Selling these homes to interested buyers is key. Using cutting-edge technology to improve sales conversions, reduce the purchasing decision time, and/or even converting cold-inbound leads can be a huge advantage. Bjørn explains that, “some buyers have only been in [QiSpace] once and then they make a decision to buy. And we also get buyers that haven’t signed in previously, like the one last week that bought the most expensive apartment. They hadn’t shown any previous interest, but they had been into the QiSpace apartment chooser. We first talked to them on Thursday, and on Friday they made a decision.” 

BoNord and QiSpace worked together on visualising the Larsneset project since 2021. As for working with a young tech company developing a new category of product offering, and thoughts on using innovation to improve the property sector in general, Kurt summarises nicely with a smile: “I think it’s really good that you are open minded and always looking for improvement, because that’s the key to success. The day that you think you’re finished developing, then you’re dead. The drive to always find some small things to make a difference, I think that’s really, really important, and we feel that’s been really good. I think it’s only been improving since we started to interact with you guys.” 

Regarding whether the property industry may have peaked in reaching the limit of innovation, Bjørn added, “I truly think we have a long way ahead, and there will be more exciting news in the future.” 

About the companies:

BoNord is a property developer and housing association in northern Norway. With expertise and long-standing reputation in construction and management, they create good and safe homes for all their members. Their motto is: Safe to live. Good to live. You can learn more by clicking here.

QiSpace is a next-generation 3D visualisation solution that offers virtual viewings of every room in every apartment in a project with photorealistic interior and exterior representations. Apartment buyers get unprecedented experiences which empowered them to make fast and informed purchasing decisions. Property developers create quality apartments, sell them faster, and win satistying buyers. Click here to learn more.

About the author

Alex Siljanovski
Alex Siljanovski
Alex is a Chartered Engineer with nearly 20 years of AEC industry experience. He holds a master’s degree with distinction in Technology Entrepreneurship from UCL and recently exited his first construction/ property tech company which he founded in 2013. He is a veteran startup mentor and can often be found motorbiking within the speed limits of the English countryside whenever the weather is good enough.
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