You don’t need those funky cardboard glasses to watch them, but they carry the some eye-popping “wow” factor as the latest Hollywood blockbuster. Reach-out-and-touch-me 3-D video tours are the hottest new real estate marketing tool in ultra-competitive markets like Miami and Vancouver that attract a high volume of overseas buyers and foreign investors. For international buyers and investors who are purchasing homes and condominiums site unseen, 3-D modeling allows them to “walk through” a property and get a true feel for size, layout and spacial relationships, things that are difficult to accurately convey in two-dimensional photographs and video tours.
At some point in the future, 3-D virtual tours may become the industry standard; but their expense makes them unrealistic in most real estate markets. Intrigued by the technology, Orlando real estate agent Sean Frank created his own 3-D marketing tool by meshing 3-D photography with Google’s simulation technology to create a virtual landscape of downtown Orlando and the luxury condominiums he sells. According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, Frank loaded thousands of high-resolution 3-D images into Google’s Street View to give real estate investors a realistic way to experience condominium site features and explore the surrounding Orlando neighborhood without leaving their offices in Brazil, Europe or New York City.
“It’s difficult to imagine a floor plan unless you physically visit the property,” Frank told the Sentinel. Three-dimensional tours solve the problem by allowing long-distance buyers to experience the property physically, if virtually. Frank plans to offer 3-D interior and exterior tours of high-rise condominium properties with a minimum $200,000 listing price. For the present, he is keeping his technology in house but has applied for a patent with the hopes of offering the process to other Realtors in the future.
While there’s certainly a coolness factor in using novel technology to market real estate, it takes a sizzling hot, high-priced market to justify the time and expense of producing 3-D tours. In most markets, real estate professionals say 3-D tours are 5 to 10 years from becoming commonplace.