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Real Estate

Zillow introduces 3D technology app to real estate agents

But Realtor says, “Not a game changer”

Zillow announced Thursday it plans to launch 3D Homes for houses listed for sale or for rent, allowing homebuyers to take an immersive tour.

While many real estate agents spend time on weekends conducting open houses, Zillow’s data shows Millennials, who currently make up 70% of first-time homebuyers, say 3D media is just as important as an open house, according to the 2017 Zillow Group Housing Report.

Zillow’s data also showed about 44% of homebuyers and 47% of renters search for their home from a distance, and, according to the company, would benefit from 3D virtual tours of the home.

“Rich media, like these new 3D Homes, will help buyers and renters more easily visualize themselves living in the home, no matter how far away they happened to be,” said Jeremy Wacksman, Zillow Group chief marketing officer. “Photos have always been vital to the home search process and now 3D tours can give buyers and renters a realistic understanding of what it would be like to live in the home.”

Zillow also unveiled its new app that allows homeowners and real estate agents to capture the 3D images from their iPhone. While 3D tours currently exist, the process is much more expensive, and is usually only utilized in higher-end listings.

Currently, real estate agents need to buy special equipment in order to take 3D photos and tours. Zillow’s new app, the Zillow Group home Capture App, however, will be available for free from their app.

“We’re democratizing access to this technology, and making it free for agents and sellers,” Wacksman said. “We’ve created a 3D experience that is simple and cost-effective so agents and sellers can adopt it easily.”

“By integrating directly with the iPhone, a device many people are already using, agents can just pull out their phone, and capture a panoramic photo,” he said. “By removing the hardware barrier, more real estate pros can add 3D Homes to their listings, giving them a new way to market all of their listings, and improving the search experience for buyers and renters.”

The app is still in the early test phase with a select group of Realtors and photographers in Scottsdale, Arizona, but will soon roll out through the Phoenix area in early 2018. The rest of the U.S. will have access to the app later in 2018.

But will real estate agents take the time to use the app when demand is so high, and the average days on market for most homes is just over one month?

“Pictures are the most important factor in listing a home for sale in both a sellers’ and buyers’ market,” Granite Point Realty President Lisa Bloskas said. However, Bloskas, who has over 20 years in the real estate industry, including founding Dallas-based GPR, went on to explain that experienced agents and brokers use professional photography. “Photography is a key factor in how a home is presented online – correct lighting, how you frame a shot, the angle, glare from windows, etc.”

Zillow’s app works by capturing 360 degree panoramic photos of all the rooms in the home, which users then upload through the app. Zillow then stiches the photos together into a tour in just a few hours and adds it the listing on Zillow. Photos are all shot directly from an iPhone through the app.

As the picture below demonstrates, from Zillow’s website, it functions similar to Google maps’ street view, only from the inside of the home. Click here to see it in action.

Click to Enlarge

3D Homes

(Source: Zillow)

But Bloskas explained this new app is not a game changer, and many agents will opt out Zillow’s 3D Homes.  

“The price for a 3D virtual tour is around $100 when done professionally,” she said. “This cost is so minimal. I don't see agents taking the time to use the app when the cost for the additional virtual tour is so inexpensive and is done while photographers are doing the still shots.”

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