Virtual Reality: Building Perspectives and Jobs through 3-D home tours
It is no more science fiction that with virtual home tours potential buyers can now choose their path through buildings whether in big cities or reserved for million-dollar houses.
At least since late 2015, three-dimensional walk-throughs have been helping sell homes of all sizes in Central Minnesota.
The beauty of this technology is that it is not only creating new perspectives in the real estate industry — it’s actually creating jobs.
360 Real Estate Imaging
In Cold Spring, Lynnette Bauer operates a 360 Real Estate Image. She commission a 3-D technician to scans some properties with a Matterport camera (a device used to create virtual walk-through images of homes for online real estate advertisements) and within four hours the digital images were put together. The 3-D camera creates virtual home tours for home buyers.
According to Morrison, the interactive aspects of 3-D tours separate them from similar still-image or video walk-throughs that have been available for years. And customers seem to agree to this.
“I’ll usually get an, ‘Oh, wow,’ or, ‘That’s amazing,'” he said after presenting the tours to potential home buyers.
Morrison isn’t the only agent providing the 3-D addition. There are others. For example, Edina Realty and Premier Real Estate Services are among other Central Minnesota businesses that feature the tours on their websites.
Likewise, home builders such as Spoden Builders in Sartell have begun to use the technology. Thus, Matterport cameras are helping create jobs outside of the St. Cloud metro area.
According to Aaron Totten, the president and CEO of Seiclone Survey in Elk River, adding 3-D tours to his portfolio of business services six weeks ago have grown his payroll by 10 employees. Totten’s is even thinking of hiring another 30 in the next few months.
He estimated that the Seiclone investment into 3-D tours is about $80,000 to $90,000. The company desired to attract as many real estate agents as possible.
This is an inexpensive addition to listings, he said. A 3-D tour of a 10,000-square-foot home cost less than $500 and there are packages lesser than $200.
The CEO of Matterport said cost efficiency was the reason behind it launch.
After Bill Brown joined the company in 2013, two years after it was formed, he started researching 3-D applications. According to him, Microsoft’s development of a 3-D sensor for tracking human gestures made the technology available to the masses.
The company’s employees spent a good portion of three years of development work modifying how the 3-D sensors operate, said Brown.
The camera was launch in summer 2014. The commercially viability was main for two reasons, said the CEO. First, the Matterport system was easy to use and Secondly, a delivery ecosystem existed.
Brown boasted that his product stands out because of a few factors. It automatically generates floor plans, offers smooth transitions from space to space, displays a dollhouse view of the entire building and doesn’t require extremely complex operations.
The Matterport CEO, however, said his company has made a beta program for VR tours, and in the next few months would be rolling out pricing for those applications.
Thus, whatever the label, the 3-D tours provide an opportunity to see a home’s nooks and crannies — without taking a step inside.
In Brown’s words, “We are emulating the experience you have when you physically go to a space”.