Yet more innovation in the marketing of property for sale

by Alistair Helm in ,

I often vacillate between a fascination for the latest shiny bauble of technology and the fundamental mantra of KISS (keep it simple, stupid). So it is with real estate marketing. Great photos, contextual information that sells the real benefits of the property; forget the videos, augmented reality and virtual tours!

But every now and then a piece of technology appears that distracts you and I find myself resetting my perspective. So it was when the iPhone was launched. I could see the impact the locational capability would have upon the real estate industry and the experiences surrounding the process of buying a home.

Equally I have long held a dislike for virtual tours which thankfully have become less popular over the past 3 years as video seems to have surpassed this early multimedia presentation. I found one example online to remind me of how nauseating they are - that sense of vertigo they create as you seem rooted to the spot as the property spins uncontrollably around you. You can sense my dislike!

So when I first heard of 3-D virtual tours I recoiled in horror at the concept of these nauseating images - but with 3-D glasses!

How wrong I was, as it turned out, and what a surprise I got. I first came across 3-D virtual tours at the annual real estate tech start-up competition called FWD Innovation Summit organised by Realogy (The largest global franchise real estate company). Inaugurated last year this competition offers the winners US$25,000 in an attempt to stimulate innovation and ideas focused on real estate. This years winner at the event held in June was Matterport the makers of a new camera technology that creates a true walk-through experience for any space, but clearly of great value for home viewings.

The Matterport camera costs US$4,500 and is more a data analysing device than a traditional camera. You simply place the camera on a tripod in various points around the home and it ‘absorbs’ the images from all around and then ‘stitches’ them together to create a complete smooth immersive walk through of the property.

No 3-D glasses, no headsets and importantly no nauseating virtual tour this is a self managed drive through, so the term “3-D Virtual Tour” is actually incorrect, it is a self-guided remote viewing for a home (bit of a mouthful!).

As ever the proof is in the pudding or in this case the viewing, so to get a sense of the power of this technology have a look at this real example of a actual listing from the embedded player below. The size of the data file could take a few seconds to load and then just dive in to virtually walk around the property with your mouse of finger in exactly the same manner as if using Google Street View.


This technology is smart and has been quickly embraced by one of (if not the) most progressive real estate companies I have come across - Redfin. They are planning to utilise this technology on as many of their listings as they can as quickly as they can. This is just the type of game changing advancement that a smart real estate company should and will adopt - so who will be the first such company in NZ to adopt this and show leadership.