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For Some Realtors, the New D.C. Open House Goes 3D

DC Luxury Property from Matterport on Vimeo.

Various real estate firms in the Washington, D.C. area are collaborating with the Silicon Valley company Matterport to create immersive 3D experiences for homebuyers. The technology allows potential homebuyers to feel out a property before they buy it, exploring the nooks and crannies of a home and seeing a birds-eye view of the furniture and architectural details in place.

Founder and CEO of HomeVisit Bryan Vaughan introduced the technology to different real estate companies, including Washington Fine Properties, and says that once he explains how the software works, "they just immediately want it." The way that the 3D showcases are made is with a Matterport Pro 3D camera. The user is able to control the camera with an iPad, telling it to spin 360 degrees in a room, take photos and gather spatial data. After taking photos in one spot of the room, the user then moves the camera to a different location in the room and has it spin around again. The process continues -- taking photos, moving the camera, taking more photos -- until the entire room is captured. Once complete, the user uploads the photos to the Matterport servers so that they can be stitched together for the finished 3D showcase.

It may sound a little complicated or even tedious at first, but CEO of Matterport Bill Brown said, "The process is very easy. It's intuitive. Most people after they place the camera in a couple locations, they kind of get it." He added:

"Just as a marketing tool, it's a much more effective way to engage prospective buyers or renters of the property … It also kind of exhilarates the process for those people that are interested. They can establish that serious interest before they've even gone and visited the property."

The camera, itself, costs $4,500, which is fairly comparable to a high-end DSLR with lenses. According to Brown, no other company has a system that is able to capture really simple, quick, and inexpensive 3D presentations in such a realistic way. To see more of Matterport's 3D showcases, check out some of their work on their website here.