How to Pre-Sell a Penthouse with 3D Renderings and Visualization


The Laurel Rittenhouse_Interior Still Rendering_Penthouse Dining Moment

Philadelphia's most expensive penthouse was recently sold before the foundation was even finished. How? The developers used our visualization service.

When it comes to selling the most expensive penthouse unit in Philadelphia, the Laurel Rittenhouse Square comes to mind.  Our client, Southern Land Company, approached our 3D visualization and interiors team for assistance to help pre-sell the unit before construction began. 

We were tasked with creating the most high-quality custom 3D renderings and interior design approach that the City of Philadelphia has seen to date. The renderings needed to show emotion and be as architecturally accurate as possible. The collaboration between our client, interior designers, and 3D rendering team had to be in harmony to pull off the unthinkable. It was time to pre-sell a $25 million penthouse in Philadelphia without ever walking through it or seeing it in real life.

“Selling a home three years before it’s completed can be challenge. Providing 3D visualization allows prospective buyers to see the exact home, with the exact finishes of what they’re purchasing, before we’ve even broken ground. These visualization tools allow buyers to proceed with the purchasing process with confidence they’re going to love their new residence once it’s completed.”
Brian Emmons, Development Manager at Southern Land Company

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Creating the right images for right buyer.

The first step to pre-selling the most expensive condo in Philadelphia was to come up with a persona of who might buy this unit, as well as a conceptual interior design package. We had to create multiple 3D images to show what this space might look like and how it could meet the needs of the buyer. 

The interior conceptual package was a roadmap for the 3D rendering team to complete the high-quality images. Below is an example of a mood board we created for one of the renderings, in close collaboration with the client, to achieve a unique design for the Penthouse. These boards are the first step in selecting furniture, artwork, finishes, architectural elements, and lighting packages to make the space feel as though a buyer can see themselves living within the unit.


Assembling the 3D Virtual World

Once our client approved the interior design package and multiple mood boards, we started building the virtual world. Any virtual world that shows context needs to have the most accurate landscape and scenery to surround that real estate environment. In the case of the Laurel, the view would be from over 500 feet above the City of Philadelphia. Our ladder didn’t quite reach that high, so we worked with a professional drone photographer to capture the stunning images required to bring this virtual space to life. When we received the images, we “stitched” them together in the virtual world, as seen below.Penthouse Pano

This image is a complete 360 capture.  You can imagine that the green space on the right connects with the green space on the left.

Matching the exterior environment to the interior

The exterior drone images raised the standard for the virtual environment, so now the interior renderings needed to be as realistic as the outside context.  

It was now time to bring the interior design package to life. This is where all of the pieces come together. The rendering team began assembling the interior space virtually.  Down to every staged item and architectural element, the space needs to be 3D modeled to 100% quality and accuracy. As with any conceptual idea, the story and emotion needs to be seen through the virtual images. These renderings have to match the notoriety of the project and sell the story from a virtual world into reality.

One of the advantages of working hand-in-hand with an interior design team and a rendering team is that the synergy between both produce extremely engaging results.  Being able to draft render a space while sitting next to an interior designer allows team members to produce the best images possible. This workflow allows the team to maximize the design for all 3D created visualization assets.

Choosing the right 3D visual assets

What assets do you create for the most expensive real estate project in the city? This comes down to understanding how your potential buyers will be sold. You want to ask the following questions when considering your digital marketing strategy:

  1. Where on the internet are you selling to potential clients? 
  2. Do you plan on selling to potential buyers in person?

Clients need to determine how, where, and when they will be listing or meeting with potential buyers. In the case of the Laurel, we had to be flexible. The assets chosen for this project were 3D renderings and a virtual tour, as well as a 3D animation. The still renderings are great for quickly capturing attention, but the virtual tour and animation are the most engaging assets and leave a lasting impression on buyers. One can draw them in with the 3D rendering, and then show them something they can’t forget.

The Laurel Rittenhouse_Interior Still Rendering_Penthouse Bedroom

The Laurel Rittenhouse_Interior Still Rendering_Penthouse Living Moment The Laurel Rittenhouse_Interior Still Rendering_Penthouse Study Moment The Laurel Rittenhouse_Interior Still Rendering_Penthouse Dining Moment


After capturing the buyer's attention, we then show them a virtual tour and animation.  As seen below, this is a virtual tour created prior to construction. Advanced technology, such as Matterport, lets potential buyers click from point to point after construction—and this pre-construction virtual tour allows potential buyers to do the same exact process, but much sooner. Utilizing this technology gives complete 360 views of the space. 

Our team goes through a wire-framing process with the client to choose the exact points we want to show potential buyers.  


Keep in mind, once the virtual environment is built, clients can add on additional assets for an affordable price.  A single animation can cost anywhere between $7,500 to $15,000, but when purchasing a package of multiple renderings, floor plans, virtual tour, and so forth, an animation can cost around $5,000.


Once the assets were created, we worked in tandem with their internal marketing team to format the images for web display and distribution. These assets need to be formatted properly for websites and social media channels, such as Facebook vs. Instagram. All of these minor formatting tweaks help the virtual images display perfectly across multiple platforms and distribution channels.

In summary, the Laurel was one of our most prominent 3D visualization exercises completed to date by our organization. Southern Land has continued to engage our firm for assistance in creating additional 3D marketing assets for the tower. 

Interested in working with our pre-construction marketing team? Contact us today!

About The Author

Brian is the CEO at Designblendz. He is passionate about helping others achieve their business goals, including helping others with developing multi-family buildings, mentoring young entrepreneurs, and speaking in front of audiences to share the latest virtual technology in the real estate industry.