In the competitive business of luxury real estate, attracting attention to a listing and making it memorable are critical for Realtors hoping catch the eye of potential buyers and land big sales. This is particularly true of out-of-town or international buyers viewing multiple properties online, narrowing their selections, and making an offer before ever setting foot in town.
Worth3D is a new business in Fort Worth aiming to give Realtors an edge by creating an immersive, interactive, 3D showcase to enhance online listings. This allows buyers to “walk through” a house and and understand the context of the layout and amenities more completely than traditional real estate photography, says Worth3D co-owner Tim Sehnem, who founded the company with Mark Smith last year. Their product is designed to complement MLS photography, give buyers an additional resource when scouting properties online, and offer Realtors a “latest-and-greatest” tool to differentiate themselves from competition.
“This software works with Redfin, Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia, so Realtors can upload it with their listing and when buyers go to ‘virtual tour,’ it will launch the 3D viewer,” Sehnem said. “It allows buyers to refine their search, and they find it useful after seeing a property to help them remember details.”
He said a 3D showcase is particularly useful in marketing homes over 4,000 square feet, where it’s easy to forget what you saw where just because of the scale of the house. An online virtual tour allows buyers to revisit properties as many times as they want, and see specific details that might not be pictured in the MLS photos.
The technology to create these virtual reality showcases is only 18 months old, the Matterport Pro 3D Camera. Sehnem and Smith own several. With the Matterport camera, they scan the interior of a home, which takes about an hour per 1,000 square feet, then upload the 3D data to the Matterport cloud. Sehnem said turnaround time is 24 hours for Realtors to receive a link to their 3D scan, and the cost is about 10 cents per square foot.
Additionally, Realtors can have the 3D scan converted to 2D CAD drawings to create an overview of the floorplan, and the camera’s footage can create the MLS interior photos that are standard for an online listing.
To see how a 3D showcase changes the user experience, read Candy’s Monday Morning Millionaire from October about a custom spec luxury home at 2104 Hanover St. in University Park. The link is here and you can see the photos are gorgeous—the home presents beautifully.
After you’ve looked at that, check out the Worth3D showcase of the same home here. Totally different level of engagement. Almost every inch of its 6,027 square feet is navigable, and it’s possible to see flow and relationships between spaces in the home in a more precise manner.
But it’s not just Realtors who are taking notice of this new technology. Custom homebuilders are also on the Worth3D client list. They are asking for scans of their properties during construction so future owners have a detailed 3D “map” of the insides of the house, like plumbing and wiring. This makes renovations and changes easier and safer, and helps document work for warranty claims.
“We did a couple for Jonathan Booth [of Booth Brothers Homes] before they put up the sheetrock, so they can know what’s behind every wall,” said Sehnem.
Another use for 3D scans is to render a floorplan before home renovations.
“If you’ve seen Property Brothers [on HGTV], we’re using the same software that is doing their 3D work,” he said. “We scan the house, they tell us what walls they want to knock down, and we can show them what the space will look like with that wall gone, for example.”
At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which just wrapped up, virtual reality headsets were the big thing, according to GeekWire. They noted an explosion of inexpensive mobile headsets entering the market. Sehnem and Smith are counting on this to boost their business.
“All of these interior [home] scans that we are doing are compatible with virtual reality headsets, so in 2016 when the VR headsets start to become released for sale to the consumer, customers will be able to walk through houses by downloaded the models from the cloud,” Sehnem said. “With those goggles on, you can walk through the house, totally immerse yourself, and get that experience without having to be there.”
According to Sehnem, his company is not wedded to the Matterport camera and will adopt newer technology if it offers a better user experience.
“We are constantly looking for new applications for this camera as well as identifying new technologies as they are coming to market to provide a better service to both direct consumers as well as businesses in their marketing efforts,” he said.
We’d love to hear from Realtors about their thoughts on 3D showcases and the usefulness of virtual reality in selling luxury homes, or any homes, for that matter. Leave us a comment with your thoughts!