Virtual reality translates to real home sales

For the first time, virtual reality is becoming a billion dollar business. You might be familiar with it when it comes to games or entertainment. But putting this virtual photography to work in our real world is where things are headed.

A California-based company puts 3D images together to deliver a seamless, mind-blowing product that is totally immersive. Images that feel more like video and lets you control how you move about in it.

It can take you to foreign countries and to the the top of sky scrapers.

These days, it can also take you to the top of your game if you're in the business of selling homes.

Amy Kite, a top grossing realtor in the Chicago area. She and her team of agents have recently employed 3D photography to give potential buyers the best views they can imagine of homes on the market. And some they probably couldn't.

A floor plan, a dollhouse view, a walkthrough, even a 360 degree exterior look are included.

The camera along with goggles, takes the tour to the next level. The tech company Matterport sees to it by creating the virtual reality effect.

"It gives you sort of an emotional attachment to the space because of your ability to walk through it at your own self direction," said Matterport’s Mark Tepper.

It’s emotional attachment because once the goggles go on, you feel like you are literally inside the house. You control it by lining up the dots, making turns, looking around or simply staying a while. All from your chair, wherever you are. You feel like you are gliding through a house you are nowhere near.

The technology uses HDR photography, high resolution, from the same camera lens used by Xbox. It is paired with infrared beams to measure precise distances and agents can shoot a 2500-square foot home themselves in 60-90 minutes. Matterport sends it to The Cloud for processing through its app and in two hours, the virtual reality is created.

“This is not augmented reality. This is reality and we call it virtual reality because you're actually not there,” Tepper said.
Apartments.com, Sotheby's International and Remax are all calling on Matterport and their technology to help sell homes. The camera, made in America, costs $4500. The headset can cost anywhere from $10-$100.

But the cost for agents like Amy Kite is immeasurable. She isn't using the goggles yet but she plans to. Already she's sold four homes in two months with 3D images alone. Her buyers are able to access the spaces on the market from their phone or computer. The goggles, she hopes, will simply sweeten any sale.

“That virtual reality is really incredible because you really feel like you are in the house."

There are additional costs. Matterport charges monthly fees to host and process or "stitch" your images together.

And on a technical note, Matterport's system works with Android only. It is not iPhone friendly. Yet.

More information at Matterport.com