3D Printing Could Change the Real Estate Industry


3d_printed_homes2Over the last few years, one of the buzz words in technology has been 3D printing. Using plastic, metal, nylon and other materials, the 3D printer takes a computer model and then “prints” an actual physical model of the design. This has been used to create a variety of items from small figurines to prototypes, aircraft engine parts and even prosthetics.

Amazingly, these 3D printers aren’t just limited to large manufacturers. MakerBot – one of the biggest names in 3D printing – currently has five different 3D printers available for personal use starting under $1,500.

There are also companies like Shapeways and Sculpteo that will let you create and share your creations online without needing your own 3D printer at home. You can simply upload your 3D file, select the material and order 3D prints. You can even open up a “shop” on Shapeways and start selling your creation.

So what does 3D printing have to do with the real estate industry? There are two distinct ways that 3D printing will change how we do business.

3D Printed Model Homes

One of the ways that 3D printing is invading real estate is with scale model homes. Currently, some builders around the country are using 3D printing technology to go ahead and create a scale model of the finished product, so they can show the home to prospective clients in the pre-spec phase. Architects are also using 3D printing technology when creating custom homes for prospective buyers.

If you sell new construction, you’re probably familiar with the CAD files used by builders to design the home. You’ve probably also experienced the frustration of trying to help home buyers imagine the look of the home from those files. It’s much easier when you have a 3D scale model of the home that your client can see and feel!

Some home builders are also using 3D printing technology to create a unique closing gift. Rather than a bottle of champagne, the home owner receives a scale model of their new home. Soon enough, you’ll have access to a 3D scanner, where you can scan a buyer’s new home and make a model yourself.

3D Printed Homes

Taking 3D printing technology a bit further, companies are already supersizing 3D printers to build full size homes. Large scale 3D printers utilize a mixture of cement and other materials, they construct walls layer by layer, and then assemble the home onsite.

A Chinese company called WinSun Decoration Design Engineering has used this new process to build 10 one-story homes in a single day. Not only is the process quicker and more environmentally friendly, it’s also cheaper. Each approximately 2,100 square-foot building costs less than $5,000 to construct.

How likely are we to see this technology in the local new homes industry? We’ll have to wait and see, but I don’t think it’s too far off.

Do you have any thoughts about 3D printing and the real estate industry? Comment below.

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5 Responses to “3D Printing Could Change the Real Estate Industry”

  1. Susan Hicks Says:

    I have been watching this with great interest in the tiny home community! Although I don’t see it in “new homes” per se as we see them here it has the potential to revolutionize low income housing and an affordable alternative to those who want to leave a smaller, greener carbon footprint. I hope we are going to see some of this locally soon!

  2. Judy Jones Says:

    The ultimate end uses of this technology have not even been imagined yet. This is amazing.

  3. Bo Krejci Says:

    Ok I was also thinking part of a closing gift, tree ornaments etc. Way cool, bring it on.

  4. Lorelei Fischer Says:

    Super cool! Literally adding a new dimension!

  5. LaToy Sawyer Says:

    This is an awesome idea for the real estate industry. For a local 3D printer in the Atlanta area, visit http://www.real3dusa.com.

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